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Full text of "The treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 1915-16 : documents presented to Viscount Grey of Fallodon, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, by Viscount Bryce"

BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 



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3 9999 06373 928 6 



LNEOUS NO. 31 (1916). 



THE 

TREATMENT OF ARMENIANS 

in the Ottoman Empire 

1915-16 
Documents presented to 

VISCOUNT GREY OF FALLODON 

Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs 
By Viscount Bryce 
With a preface by 

VISCOUNT BRYCE 




L O N D O N : 

PRINTED UXDER riTK AUTITORITY OF HIS MAJESTY'S 
STATIONERY OFFICE 
By SIR JOSEPH CAUSTON and SONS, Limited, 9, Eastcheap. E.G. 

To be purchased, either directly or through any Bookseller, from 
WYMAN AND SONS. Limited, 29, Breams Buildings, Fetter Lane, E.C 
and 54, St. Mary Street, Cardiff ; or 
H.xM. STATIONERY OFFICE (Scottish Branch), 
23, Forth Street. Edinburgh ; or 
E. PONSONBY, Limited, 116. Grafton Street, Dublin; 
or from the Agencies in the British Colonies and Dependencies, 
the United States of America and other Foreign Countries of 
T. FISHER UNWIN. Limited, London. W.C. 



191G. 



Price Two Shillings 



GUIDE TO THE READER 



THIS volume has been made, as far as possible, an 
exhaustive collection of evidence. It therefore 
necessarily contains much that is only of slight 
interest to the ordinary reader, and many of the documents 
are duplicate accounts, from independent sources, of identical 
events, which, while of the highest value from the evidential 
point of view, are superfluous to those who wish merely to 
form a general idea of what occurred. 

It has therefore seemed advisable, in the reader's interest, 
to single out forty or fifty of the most important documents 
(about one in three of the whole series), and direct his attention, 
in the first place, to these. They are detailed, with an indica- 
tion of their contents, in the following list : — 

Doc. 9. Letter conveyed out of Turkey in the sole of a refugee's shoe. 

1 2. News in German missionary journals suppressed by the German 
Censor. 

„ 15. Siege of Van : an American lady who went through it. 
„ 18. Van : a German Missionary's letter. 



Sassoun : the last stand of the Armenian mountaineers. 



The massacres at Moush : a German eye-witness. 
Moush : a victim of the massacre?. 

How the missionaries saved 1 7,000 refugees at Urmia : a diary. 

How the Nestorian Patriarch fought for his people : letter from 
his sister. 

The flight from Urmia : story of a pastor's wife. 
Scenes on the refugees' road. 

Erzeroum : notes from an American who stayed there till the 
Russians came in. 

Baibourt : the horrors of deportation, described by an exiled 
lady. 

Erzindjan : the passing of the exiles, described by two Danish 
Sisters in the German Red Cross, 

A Turkish " Government Orphanage " : experiences of another 
Danish Red Cross Nurse. 

A town on the exile route. 

The sufferings of an exile-gang. 

The fate of a Christian College : report by the College Principal. 



Doc. 72. Trebizond : wholesale drowning at sea. 

„ 73. Trebizond : interview with the former Italian Consul-Generai. 

„ 78. Exiles on the march : letter from an American lady who 
accompanied them. 

„ 82. Adventures of an Armenian peasant who defied the deportation 
decree. 

87. " Cleaning out " a town : testimony of a foreign Professor. 
„ 88. The same town : narrative of a foreign lady. 

„ 89. The rescue of deported school-girls, by the same lady. 

„ 96. The butchery at Angora : the same witness. 

„ 102. Adapazar : the bastinado in the Church, 

„ 104. A railway journey during the deportations, by a foreign doctor. 

„ 108. Afiun Kara Hissar : a brave Armenian doctor's wife. 

„ 114. On the Baghdad Railway : a lady's diary. 

„ 117. The concentration camps: two Swiss ladies. 



Doc. 118. Journey from Smyrna to Damascus and back, by a foreign 
traveller. 

„ 121. Cilicia : emptying the hill villages. 

122. Zeitoun : the Protestant Pastor. 

„ 123. Zeitounlis in exile : diary of a foreigner in the Plains. 

„ 1 26. What happened to a mountain town : statement by a foreign 
resident. 

„ 1 30. Jibal Mousa : five villages which held the Turks at bay, and 
were rescued by the French Fleet. 

„ 133. What happened at Ourfa., 

„ 137. Births on the road : the fate of the babies and the mothers. 

„ 139. Reports from Aleppo. 

„ 141. Collecting the dead at Aleppo. 

„ 143. Damascus: arrival of the exiles. 

„ 144. On the banks of the Euphrates : death by starvation. 

„ 1 45. Der-el-Zor, the exile station in the desert : by a German 
traveller. 



For Official Use. 

MISCELLANEOUS NO. 31 (1910). 



THE 




in the Ottoman Empire 

1915-16 
Documents presented to 

VISCOUNT GREY OF FALLODON 

Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs 
By Viscount Bryee 
With a preface by 

VISCOUNT BRYCE 




LONDON: 

PRINTED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF HIS MAJESTY'S 
STATIONERY OFFICE 
By SIR JOSEPH CAUSTON and SONS, Limited. 9. Eastcheap. E.G. 

To be purchased, either directly or through any Bookseller, from 
WYiMAN AND SONS, Limited, 29, Breams Buildings, Fetter Lane, E.C., 
and 54, St. Mary Street. Cardiff ; or 
H.M. STATIONERY OFFICE (Scottish Branch), 
23, Forth Street. Edinburgh ; or 
E. PONSONBY, Limited, 116, Grafton Street, Dublin: 
or from the Agencies in the British Colonies and Dependencies, 
the United States of America and other Foreign Countries of 
T. FISHER UNWIN, Limited, London. W.C. 

1916. 

Pnce Two Shillings 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



The titles are italicised in the case of documents which relate merely to the 
condition of refugees in Egypt and Caucasia, and not to the events in 
Turkey and N.W. Persia of which these refugees had been the victims. 

PAGE 

Map of Districts affected ... Frontispiece 

Correspondence between Viscount Grey of Fallodon and Viscount 

Bryce xv. 

Preface by Viscount Bryce ... ... ... ... ... ... xxi . 

Letter from Mr. H. A. L. Fisher, Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Uni- 
versity, to Viscount Bryce ... ... ... xxix. 

Letter from Prof. Gilbert Murray, Regius Professor of Greek in the 

University of Oxford, to Viscount Bryce xxxi. 

Letter from Mr. Moorfield Storey, ex-President of the American Bar 

Association, to Viscount Bryce xxxii. 

Letter from Four German Missionaries to the Ministry of Foreign 

Affairs at Berlin xxxiii. 

Memorandum by the Editor of the Documents xxxv. 

L — General Descriptions 1 

1. Despatch from Mr. Henry Wood, Correspondent of the 
American " United Press " at Constantinople ; pub- 
lished in the American Press, 14th August, 1915 ... 2 

2. Despatch, dated lltli June, 1915, from an especially 
well-informed neutral source at Constantinople ; com- 
municated by the American Committee for Armenian 

and Syrian Relief ... ... ... ... ... ... 4 

3. Extract from a letter, dated Arabkir, 25th June /8th 
July, 1915, communicated by the American Committee 

for Armenian and Syrian Relief ... ... ... ... 5 

4. Letter from an authoritative source, dated Constanti- 
nople, 15 /28th June, 1915 ; published in the New York 
journal " Gotchnag," 28th August, 1915 6 

5. Letter from the same source, dated Constantinople, 
12 /25th July, 1915 ; published in the New York journal 

" Gotchnag," 28th August, 1915 8 

6. Letter from the same source, dated Constantinople, 
13 /26th July, 1915, and addressed to a distinguished 
Armenian resident beyond the Ottoman frontier ... 9 

7. Letter from the same source, dated Constantinople, 
2nd /15th August, 1915, and addressed to the same 
Armenian resident beyond the Ottoman frontier ... 12 

8. Extracts from a letter, dated Athens, 8th /21st July, 
1915, from an Armenian formerly resident in Turkey to 

a prominent Armenian in Western Europe 17 

9. Letter, dated 3rd /16th August, 1915, conveyed beyond 
the Ottoman frontier by an Armenian refugee from 
Cilicia in the sole of her shoe 20 

10. Letter from Mr. N., a foreign resident at Constantinople, 
dated 27th August, 1915 ; communicated by the 
American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief .. 22 
(B345) 33760 & 90. A I 



iv. 



Contents. 



1 1 . Memorandum dated 15 /28th October, 1915, from a well- 
informed source at Bukarest, relating to the extermina- 
tion of the Armenians in Turkey ... ... ... 23 

12. Information regarding events in Armenia, published in 
the " Sonnenaufgang " (organ of the "German League 
for the Promotion of Christian Charitable Work in the 
East "), October, 1915 ; and in the " Allgemeine Mis- 
sions-Zeitschrift," November, 1915 ... ... ... 25 

13. Statement made by a foreign resident at Constantinople 
to a Swiss gentleman at Geneva ; communicated by the 
latter 28 

14. Cablegram, dated 4th May, 1916, transmitted through 
the State Department at Washington to the American 
Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief, from the 
Committee's representatives in Turkey ... ... ... 29 

II. — Vilayet of Van 31 

15. The American Mission at Van : Narrative printed 
privately in the United States by Miss Grace Higley 
Knapp (1915) 32 

16. Van : Letter dated Van, 7th June, 1915, from Mr. Y. K. 
Rushdouni ; published in the " Manchester Guardian," 

2nd August, 1915 48 

17. Van : Narrative by Mr. Y. K. Rushdouni, published 
serially in the Armenian journal " Gotchnag," of 

New York 52 

18. Van after the Turkish retreat : Letter from Herr Sporri, 
of the German Mission at Van, published in the German 
journal " Sonnenaufgang," October, 1915 71 

19. Van after the massacres : Narrative of Mr. A. S. 
Safrastian, dated Van, 2nd December, 1915, and 
published in the Armenian journal " Ararat," of 
London, January, 1916 72 

20. Van : Interview with a refugee, Mrs. Gazarian, pub- 
lished in the " Pioneer Press," of St, Paul, Minnesota, 
U.S.A 76 

III. — Vilayet of Bitlis 79 

21. The North-Eastern Vilayets : Statement communicated 
by the Refugee Roupen, of Sassoun, to the Armenian 
Community at Moscow ; published in the Russian Press, 
and subsequently reprinted in the " Gazette de Lau- 
sanne," 13th February, 1916 80 

22. Bitlis, Moush and Sassoun : Record of an interview with 
Roupen, of Sassoun, by Mr. A. S. Safrastian, dated 
Tifiis, 6th November, 1915 83 

23. Moush : Statement by a German eye-witness of occur- 
rences at Moush ; communicated by the American 
Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief ... ... 88 

24. Moush District : Narrative of a deported woman, 
related by her to Mr. Vartkes, of Moush, recorded by 
him on the 25th July, 1915, and published subsequently 

in the Armenian journal " Van-Tosp "... ... ... 92 

25. Moush : R6sum6 of information furnished by refugees 
in the Caucasus and published in the Caucasian Press, 
especially in the Armenian journal " Mschak " ; 
compiled by Mr. G. H. Paelian, and communicated by 
him to the Armenian journal " Ararat," of London, 
March. 1916 94 



Contents. 



V. 



26. Bitlis : Letter dated 14th October, 1915, from a foreign 
resident at Bitlis to a German official ; communicated 
by the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian 
Relief 96 

IV. — Azerbaijan and Hakkiari 99 

27. Urmia : Statement by the Rev. William A. Shedd, D.D., 
of the American (Presbyterian) Mission Station at 
Urmia ; communicated by the Board of Foreign Missions 

of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. ... ... 100 

28. First Exodus from Urmia, January, 1915 : Report, 
dated 1st March, 1915, from the Rev. Robert M. 
Labaree, of the American Mission Station at Urmia, 
to the Hon. F. Willoughby Smith, U.S. Consul at Tifiis ; 
communicated by the Board of Foreign Missions of the 
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. ... ... ... 105 

29. Azerbaijan, behind the Russian front : Extracts from 
a series of letters by the Rev. Robert M. Labaree ; 
communicated by the Board of Foreign Missions of the 
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. ... ... ... 110 

30. Tabriz : Letter dated Tabriz, 17th March, 1915, from 
the Rev. F. N. Jessup ; communicated by the Board of 
Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the 

U.S. A 113 

31. Urmia during tlie Turco-Kurdish occupation : Diary of 
a Missionary, edited by Miss Mary Schauffler Piatt, and 
published by the Board of Foreign Missions of the 
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. ... ... ... 119 

32. Urmia after its evacuation by the Turks and Kurds : 
Letter dated Urmia, 20th May, 1915, from Mrs. J. P. 
Cochran to friends in the United States ; communicated 
by the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian 
Church in the U.S. A 151 

33. Urmia : Letter, dated Urmia, 25th May, 1915, from the 
Rev. Y. M. Nisan to the Rev. F. N. Heazell, Organising 
Secretary of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Assyrian 
Mission 156 

34. Urmia : Narrative of Dr. Jacob Sargis, recorded in a 
despatch, dated Petrograd, 12th February, 1916, from 
the correspondent at Petrograd of the American 
"Associated Press" ... ... ... ... ... 158 

35. Urmia: Extracts from the Annual Report (for the year 
1915) presented by the Medical Department at Urmia 
to the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian 
Church in the U.S. A 161 

36. Urmia, Salmas and Hakkiari : Statement by Mr. Paul 
Shimmon, published in the Armenian j ournal " Ararat," 

of London, November, 1915 ... ... ... ... 164 

37. Hakkiari : Statement by Mr. Paul Shimmon, published 
in the " Churchman " newspaper, and subsequently 
issued as a pamphlet ; communicated by Mrs. D. S. 
Margoliouth, of Oxford 169 

38. Refugees from the Hakkiari District : Series of extracts 
from letters by mem.bers of the American Mission 
Station at Urmia ; communicated by the Board of 
Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the 
U.S.A, „ , 172 



vi. 



Contents. 



39. Refugees from Hakkiari : Letter dated 26th September / 
9th October, 1915, from a relative of Mar Shimun, the 
Patriarch ; communicated by the Rev. F. N. Heazell... 175 

40. Refugees from Hakkiari : Letter, dated Diliman, 
1st /14th April, 1916, from Surma, the sister of Mar 
Shimun. to Mrs. D. S. Margoliouth, of Oxford 177 

4L The Nestorians of the Bohtan District : Letter, dated 
Salmas, 6th March, 1916, from the Rev. E.W. McDowell, 
of the Urmia Mission Station, reporting information 
brought by a young man (with whom Mr. McDowell was 
previously acquainted) who had escaped the massacre ; 
communicated by the Board of Foreign Missions of the 
Presbyterian Church in the U.S. A 180 

42. Second Exodus from Urmia : Letter dated Tabriz, 
20th August, 1915, from Mr. Hugo A. Miiller (Treasurer 
of the American Mission Station at Urmia) ; com- 
municated by the Board of Foreign Missions of the 
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. ... ... ... 182 

43. Second Exodus from Urmia : Narrative of a Nestorian 
victim, the wife of the Rev. David Jacob, of Urmia, 
published in the Armenian journal " Ararat," of 
London, January, 1916 ... ... ... ... ... 184 

44. Urmia District : Report on the distribution of relief, 
covering the period 1st June to 31st December, 1915 ; 

* communicated by the American Committee for 
Armenian and Syrian Relief 187 

45. Azerbaijan : Statement, dated Tiflis, 22nd February, 
1916, by Mr. M. Philips Price, War Correspondent for 
various British and American newspapers on the 
Caucasian Front ; cornmunicated to Aneurin Williams, 
Esq., M.P., and published in the Armenian journal 

" Ararat," of London. March, 1916 191 

v.. — The Refugees in the Caucasus ... ... ... ... 193 

46. The Flight to the Caucasus : Despatches to the 
Armenian journal "Horizon," of Tiflis, from Mr. 
Sampson Aroutiounian, President of the Armenian 
National Committee of Tiflis. who went in person to 
meet the Refugees .. . ... ... ... ... ... 194 

47. The Flight to the Caucasus : Despatch from the special 
correspondent of the Armenian journal " Arev," of 
Bakou , 197 

48. Memorandum on the condition of Armenian Refugees in 
the Caucasus and Orphans at Van ; compiled in the 
British Foreign Office from information, dated 9th Decem- 
ber, 1915, which was furnished by Mr. Stevens, British 
Consul at Batoum ... ... ... ... ... ... 199 

49. Memorandum on the condition of Armenian Refugees in 
the Caucasus ; compiled in the British Foreign Office from 
information, dated 29th December, 1915, which was 
furnished by Mr. Stevens, British Consul at Batoum . . . 203 

50. Report on the activity of Armenian Refugee Relief 
Organisations in the Caucasus and Turkish Armenia: 
enclosed inadespatch {No. I.), dated Batoum, 3rd January, 
1916, from Mr. Consul Stevens to the British Foreign Office 208 

.5 ' . Refugees in the Caucasus : Letter dated Erivan, 29th 
December, \9\S, from the Rev. S. G. Wilson to Dv. Samuel 
T. Dutton, Secretary of the American Committee for 
Armenian and Syrian Relief ... ... ... ... 216 



Contents. 



vii. 



PAGE 

52. Repatriation of Refugees : Letter, dated Erivan {?), March, 
1916, from the Rev. S. G. Wilson ; communicated by the 
American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief ... 219 

VI. — Vilayet of Erzeroum 221 

53. Erzeroum : Record of an Interview between the 
Rev. H. J. Buxton and the Rev. Robert Stapleton, a 
missionary of the American Board, resident at Erzeroum 
from before the outbreak of war until after the capture 

of the city by the Russians ... ... ... ... 222 

54. Erzeroum : Report, dated 25th September, 1915, 
drawn up by the American Consul-General at Trebizond, 
after his return from a visit to Erzeroum ; communi- 
cated by the American Committee for Armenian and 
Syrian Rehef 228 

55. Erzeroum : Abstract of a Report by Mr. B. H. Khou- 
nountz, representative of the " All-Russian Urban 
Union," on a visit to Erzeroum after the Russian 
occupation ; published in the Armenian journal 

" Horizon," of Tiflis, 25th February, 1916 231 

56. Erzeroum : Abstract of a Report by Dr. Y. Minassian, 
who accompanied Mr. Khounountz to Erzeroum as 
representative of the Caucasian Section of the " AU- 
Russian Urban Union " ; published in the Armenian 
journal " Mschak," of Tiflis, 8th March, 1916 233 

57. Erzeroum : Statement by Mr. A. S. Safrastian, dated 
Tiflis, 15th March, 1916 236 

58. Erzeroum : Statement by the Kurd Ali-Aghazade Faro, 
published in the Armenian journal "Mschak," 

19th December, 1915 241 

59. Baibourt : Narrative of an Armenian lady deported in 
the third convoy ; communicated by the American 
Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief ... ... 242 

60. Baibourt : Statement, reproduced from the Armenian 
journal " Horizon," of Tiflis, in the Armenian journal 

" Gotchnag," of New York, 18th March, 1916 244 

61. Baibourt, Keghi, and Erzindjan : Letter, dated Er- 
zeroum, 25th May /7th June, 1915 ; communicated by 
the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian 
Relief 245 

62. Erzindjan : Statement by two Red Cross Nurses of 
Danish Nationality, formerly in the service of the 
German MiUtary Mission at Erzeroum ; communicated 

by a Swiss gentleman of Geneva ... ... ... ... 246 

63. Kamakh and Erzeroum : Statement published in the 

New York journal "Gotchnag," 4th September, 1915... 255 

VII. — Vilayet of Mamouret-ul-Aziz ... 257 

64. H. : Statement made by Miss DA., a Danish lady in the 
service of the German Red Cross at H., to Mr. DB., at 
Basle, and communicated by Mr. DB. to Lord Bryce ... 258 

65. H. : Report, dated 11th July, 1915, from a foreign 
resident at H. ; communicated by the American Com- 
mittee for Armenian and Syrian Relief ... ... ... 262 

66. H. : Memorandum forwarded by a foreign resident at 
H. (the author of the preceding report) ; communicated 
by the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian 
Relief 265 



viii. 



Conients. 



67. H. : Narrative of an Armenian Refugee from H. ; 
communicated to Lord Bryce by the correspondent of 

the London " Times " at Bukarest ... ... ... 268 

68. Mamouret-ul-Aziz : Narrative of an Armenian lady 
deported from C. (a place half-an-hour's distance from 
H.), describing her journey from C. to Ras-ul-Ain ; 
written after her escape from Turkey, and dated 
Alexandria, 2nd November, 1915 ; published in the 
Armenian journal " Gotchnag," of New York, 8th 
January, 1916 271 

69. H. : Statement by the Principal of the College, dated 
19th July, 1915 ; communicated by the American 
Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief 278 

70. H. : Statement by the Principal of the College, dated 
19th July, 1915, relating to the deportation of Armenians 
from villages in the neighbourhood of H. ; communi- 
cated by the American Committee for Armenian and 
Syrian Relief 281 

71. H. : Letter, dated 10th November, 1915, from the 
Principal of the College at H. to Mr. N. at Constanti- 
nople; communicated by the American Committee for 
Armenian and Syrian Relief ... ... ... ... 282 

VIII. — Vilayet of Trebizond, and Sandjak of Shabin Kara- 

HissAR 285 

72. Trebizond : Report from a foreign resident at Trebi- 
zond ; communicated by the American Committee for 
Armenian and Syrian Relief ... ... ... ... 286 

73. Trebizond : Extracts from an interview with Comm. G. 
Gorrini, late Italian Consul-General at Trebizond ; 
published in the journal " II Messaggero," of Rome, 

25th August, 1915 290 

74. Trebizond : Narrative of the Montenegrin Kavass of 
the local branch of the Ottoman Bank ; published in 
the Armenian journal " Arev," of Alexandria, 2nd 
October, 1915 293 

75. Kerasond (Kiresoun), Trebizond and Shabin Kara-Hissar : 
Evidence collected by an Armenian gentleman from 
eye-witnesses now in Roumania; communicated by the 
correspondent of the London " Times " at Bukarest ... 294 

76. Trebizond and Erzeroum : Despatch from the corres- 
pondent of the London " Times " at Bukarest, dated 
Bukarest, 18th May, and published on the 22nd May, 

1916 299 

IX. — Sivas : The City and Parts of the Vilayet 301 

77. Sivas : Letter from a foreign resident at Sivas, dated 
13th July, 1915 ; communicated by the American 
Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief ... ... 302 

78. Sivas : Letter written from Malatia by Miss Mary L. 
Graffam, Principal of the Girls' High School at Sivas, 
to a correspondent at Constantinople ; reprinted from 

the Boston " Missionary Herald," December, 1915 ... 305 

79. Extracts from a letter, dated Massachusetts, 29th 
August, 1915, from another foreign resident at Sivas to 

Mr, G. H. Paelian 309 

30. Sivas : Narrative of a naturalised Ottoman subject, 
dated New Yor}*; City. 10th March, 1916; communi- 
ca^^(i by th\e ^n\eyican Coimuittee for A.riT\enian and 
Syri?:" Kf^'liet " .... su 



Contents. 



ix 



81. Sivas : The Adventures of Murad ; narrated by 
" S.H.S." in the journal "The New Armenia," of New 
York, 1st March. 1916 317 

82. Sivas : Record of an Interview given by the Refugee 
Murad to Mr. A. S. Safrastian at Tiflis 320 

X. — Sandjak of Kaisaria 327 

83. Kaisaria : Statement by a traveller from Kaisaria, 
published in the Armenian journal " Balkanian 
Mamoul, ' ' of Roustchouk ... ... ... ... ... 328 

84. Everek : Statement published in the Armenian journal 

" Gotchnag," of New York, 28th August, 1915 ... 329 

85. K. : Letter from a foreign resident at K., dated 16th 
November, 1915 ; communicated by the American 
Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief 330 

XI. — The Town of X. 331 

86. X. : Narrative of the Principal of the College at X. ; 
communicated by the American Committee for 
Armenian and Syrian Relief ... ... ... ... 332 

87. X. : Address delivered in America, 13th December, 
1915, by a professor from the College at X. ; communi- 
cated by the American Committee for Armenian and 
Syrian Relief ... ... ... ... ... ... 336 

88. X. : Statement by Miss AA., a foreign traveller in 
Turkey ; communicated by the American Committee 

for Armenian and Syrian Relief ... ... ... ... 349 

S9. Narrative of Miss AA., a foreign traveller in Asiatic 
Turkey, describing a journey from X. to Z., 10th August 
to 6th September, 1915 ; communicated by the Ameri- 
can Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief . . . 356 

90. X. : Report from Mr. AL., a foreign resident at L., in 
Asiatic Turkey, dated 26tli August, 1915 ; communi- 
cated by the American Committee for Armenian and 
Syrian Relief ... ... ... ... ... ... 364 

91. X. (?) : Narrative of a foreign resident of German 
nationality ; communicated by the American Com- 
mittee for x\rmenian and Syrian Relief ... ... ... 367 

92. X. : Letter, dated New York City, 30th December. 1915, 
from Professor QQ., of the College at X., to an Armenian 
Professor resident beyond the Ottoman frontier . . . 369 

93. X. : Narrative of a journey from X. to Constantinople, 
by Professor QQ., of the College at X. ; communicated 
by the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian 
Relief " ... 373 

94. X. : Narrative of Miss CC, communicated by her to 
a Swiss gentleman at Geneva during her passage through 
Switzerland in December, 1915 ... ... ... ... 378 

XII. ^ — The City of Angoka ... ... ... ... ... ... 381 

95. Angora : Statement by a traveller, not of Armenian 
nationality, who passed tlirough Angora in August, 1915 382 

96. Angora : Extract from the narrative (Doc. 88) of 
Miss AA., a foreign traveller in Asiatic Turkey ; com- 
municated by the Am.'^rican Committee for Armenian 

and Svna,n Relief , 385 



X. 



Contents. 



97. Aiifyora: Extract from a letter dated 16th September, 
1915; appended to the Memorandum (Doc. 11), dated 
15 /28th October, 1915, from a well-informed source at 
Bukarest 388 

XIII. — Thrace, Constantinople, Broussa and Ismid ... 389 

98. The Metropolitan Districts : Information published in 

the Armenian journal " Gotchnag," of New York ... 390 

99. Constantinople : Letter, dated Constantinople, 13 /26th 
October, 1915, from an Armenian inhabitant; published 
in the Armenian journal " Balkanian Mamoul," of 
Roustchouk 392 

100. Adrianople : Despatch from the correspondent of the 
London "Times" at Bukarest, dated 18th December 

and published on the 21st December, 1915 394 

101. Broussa : Report by a foreign visitor to the city, dated 
24th September, 1915 ; communicated by the American 
Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief 395 

102. Adapazar : Statement, dated 24th September, 1915, 
by a foreign resident in Turkey ; communicated by the 
American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief... 398 

103. Adapazar : Fuller statement by the author of the 
preceding document ; published in the journal " The 

New Armenia," of New York, 15th May, 1916 400 

XIV. — The Anatolian Railway 407 

104. The Anatolian Railway : Narrative of a journey, 
during the deportation of the Armenians, by a physician 
of foreign nationality, who had been resident in Turkey 
for ten years ; communicated by the American Com- 
mittee for Armenian and Syrian Relief ... ... ... 409 

105. Eski Shehr : Letter from an Armenian victim, published 
in the Armenian journal " Horizon," of Tifiis, 30th 
October /12th November, 1915 414 

106. Afiun Kara Hissar : Letter dated Afiun Kara Hissar, 
10th /23rd September, 1915 ; published in the Armenian 
journal "Horizon," of Tifiis, 30th October /12th 
November, 1915 416 

107. Afiun Kara Hissar : Resume of a letter, dated Afiun 
Kara Hissar, 2nd /15th October, 1915 ; appended to the 
Memorandum (Doc. 11), dated 15/28th October, 1915, 

from a well-informed source at Bukarest ... ... 417 

108. Afiun Kara Hissar : Letter, dated Massachusetts, 
22nd November, 1915, from an American traveller ; 
communicated by the American Committee for 
Armenian and Syrian Relief 418 

109. Q. : Report from Dr. D., dated Q., 8th September, 
1915 ; communicated by the American Committee for 
Armenian and Syrian Relief 421 

110. Q. : Report from Dr. E.. dated Q.. 3rd September, 
1915 ; communicated by the American Committee for 
Armenian and Syrian Relief 426 

111. Q. : Letter from Dr. E., dated 27th October, 1915; 
communicated by the American Committee for 
Armenian and Syrian Relief ... ... ... ... 431 

112. Q. : Letter, dated Q., 25th November, 1915, from 
l3r. E. to Mr. N. at Constantinople ; communicated by 
the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian 
Relief 433 



Coiiients. 



xi. 



PAGE 

113. Konia : Resume of a letter, dated Konia, 2nd /15th 
October, 1915 ; appended to the Memorandum (Doc. 
11), dated 15th /28th October, 1915. from a well-informed 
source at Bukarest ... ... ... ... ... 437 

114. Baghdad Railway : Diary of a foreign resident in the 
town of B., on a section of the line; edited by William 
Walter Rockwell, Esq., Ph.D., and published by the 
American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief 
(1916) 438 

115. AE., a town on the Railway : Series of Reports from 
a foreign resident at AE., communicated by the Ameri- 
can Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief ... 450 

116. The Taurus and Amanus passes: Extracts from a 
Letter, dated Aleppo, 5th November, 1915, from Dr.L., 
a foreign resident in Turkey, to Mr. N. at Constanti- 
nople ; communicated by the American Committee for 
Armenian and Syrian Relief ... ... ... ... 454 

117. The Amanus passes : Statements by two Swiss residents 
in Turkey ; communicated by the American Committee 

for Armenian and Syrian Relief ... ... ... ... 455 

118. Smyrna — Aleppo — Damascus — Aleppo — Smyrna : 
Itinerary of a foreign traveller in Asiatic Turkey ; 
communicated by the American Committee for 
Armenian and Syrian Relief ... ... ... ... 459 

XV. — CiLiciA (Vilayet of Adana and Sandjak of Marash) ... 465 

119. Cilicia : Address (with enclosure), dated 3rd July, 1915, 
from the Armenian Colony in Egypt to His Excellency 
Lieutenant- General Sir J. G. Maxwell, Commander-in- 
Chief of His Britannic Majesty's Forces in Egypt ... 468 

120. Cilicia : Letter, dated 20th June, 1915, from Dr. L., a 
foreign resident in Turkey ; communicated by the 
American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief... 472 

121. BM. : Letter from a foreign eye-witness, dated 6th July, 
1915, on board a steamship ; communicated by the 
American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief... 474 

122. Zeitoun : Antecedents of the deportation, recorded by 
the Rev. Stephen Trowbridge, Secretary of the Cairo 
Committee of the American Red Cross, from an oral 
statement by the Rev. Dikran Andreasian, Pastor of the 
Armenian Protestant Church at Zeitoun ... ... 479 

123. Exiles from Zeitoun : Diary of a foreign resident in the 
town of B. on the Cilician plain ; communicated by 

a Swiss gentleman of Geneva ... ... ... ... 482 

124. Exiles from Zeitoun : Further statement by the author 
of the preceding document ; communicated by the 
American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief... 487 

125. Exiles from Zeitoun : Letter, dated Konia, 17th July, 
1915, from a foreign resident at Konia to Mr. N. at 
Constantinople ; communicated by the American 
Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief ... ... 490 

126. AF. : Statement, dated 16th December, 1915, by a 
foreign resident at AF. ; communicated by the American 
Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief ... ... 492 

127. AF. : Record of individual cases, drawn up by the 
author of the preceding statement, and dated 17th 
December, 1915 500 



xii. 



Contents. 



128. Adana : Statement, dated 3rd December, 1915, by a 
foreign resident at Adana ; communicated by the 
American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief... 502 

129. Adana : Statement, dated 9th May, 1916, by Miss Y., 
a foreign resident at Adana, recording her experiences 
there from September, 1914, to September, 1915 ... 505 

XVI. JiBAL MOUSA 511 

130. Jibal Mousa : The defence of the mountain and the 
rescue of its defenders by the French Fleet ; narrative 
of an eye-witness, the Rev. Dikran Andreasian, Pastor . 

of the Armenian Protestant Church at Zeitoun ... 512 

131. Jibal Mousa : Report, dated Egypt, 28th September, 
1915, on the Armenian Refugees rescued and trans- 
ported to Port Said by the cruisers of the French Fleet ; 
drawn up by Mgr. Thorgom, Bishop of the Gregorian 
Community in Egypt ... ... ... ... ... 521 

132. Jihal Mousa : Another report on the Refugees at Port 
Said, drawn up by Mr. Tovmas K. Mugger dichian, 
formerly Dragoman of the British Consulate at Diyarbekir 525 

XVII. — The Towns of Ourfa and AC 527 

133. Ourfa : Letter, dated Ourfa, 14th June, 1915, from 
Mr. K. ; communicated by the American Committee 

for Armenian and Syrian Relief ... ... ... ... 528 

134. Ourfa : Extract from a letter by Mr. Tovmas K. 
Muggerdichian ; published in the Armenian j ournal 

" Gotchnag," of New York, 1st April, 1916 530 

135. Ourfa : Interview with Mrs. J. Vance Young, an eye- 
witness of the events at Ourfa ; published in the 
"Egyptian Gazette," 28th September /1 1th October, 
and reproduced in the Armenian journal " Houssaper," 

of Cairo, 30th September /13th October, 1915 531 

136. Ourfa : Postscript to a memorandum (Doc. 141) by a 
foreign witness from Aleppo ; communicated by the 
American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief... 532 

137. AC. : Statement by Miss A., a foreign resident at AC, 
written subsequently to her departure from Turkey in 
September, 1915 ; communicated by the Rev. I. N. 
Camp, of Cairo 533 

138. AC. : Letters from an Armenian inhabitant, describing 
the deportation of Armenians from Cilicia ; communi- 
cated by the American Committee for Armenian and 
Syrian Relief ... ... ... ... ... ... 544 

XVIII. — Vilayet of Aleppo 545 

139. Aleppo : Series of Reports from a foreign resident at 
Aleppo ; communicated by the American Committee 

for Armenian and Syrian Relief ... ... ... ... 547 

140. Aleppo: Memorandum, dated Aleppo, 18th June /1st 
July, 1915 ; communicated by the American Committee 

for Armenian and Syrian Relief ... ... ... ... 551 

141. Aleppo: Memorandum by a foreign witness from 
Aleppo ; communicated by the American Committee 

for Armenian and Syrian Relief 552 

142. Aleppo : Message, dated 17th February, 1916, from 
Fraiilein O. ; published in the German journal '* Son- 
nenaufgang." April, 1916 555 



Contents, 



xiii. 



PAOB 

XTX. — Vilayet of Damascus and Sandjak of Der-el-Zor ... 557 

143. Damascus : Report from a foreign resident at Damascus, 
dated 20th September, but containing information up 
to the 3rd October, 1915; communicated by the 
American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief... 558 

144. Exiles on the Euphrates : Record, dated Erzeroum, 
June, 1915, by M. Henry Barby, of an interview with 
Dr. H. Toroyan, an Armenian physician formerly in the 
service of the Ottoman Army ; published in " Le 
Journal," of Paris, 13th July, 1916 562 

145. Der-el-Zor : Letter, dated 12th July, 1915, from 
Schwester L. Mohring, a German missionary, describing 
her journey from Baghdad to the passes of Amanus ; 
published in the German journal " Sonnenaufgang," 
September, 1915 ... ... ... ... ... ... 566 

XX. — Documents received while going to press ... ... 571 

146. Despatch from Mr. Henry Wood (Doc. 1) : Fuller 
version, obtained through the courtesy of the representa- 
tive of the American " United Press " in London ... 572 

147. Urmia, Salmas, and Hakkiari : Fuller statement by 
Mr. Paul Shimmon, edited, as a pamphlet, by the 
Rev. F. N. Heazell, Organising Secretary of the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury's Assyrian Mission 577 

148. First exodus from Urmia : Narrative of Mr. J. D. 
Barnard, of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Assyrian 
Mission ; published in the " Assyrian Mission Quarterly 
Paper," April, 1915 587 

149. Erzeroum : Letter, dated 21st March, 1916, from the 
Rev. Robert S. Stapleton to the Hon. F. Willoughby 
Smith, U.S. Consul at Tifiis ; communicated by the 
American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief... 589 

A Summary of Armenian History up to and including the year 1915 591 

I. — The European War and Armenia 593 

II. — An Outline of Armenian History 596 

III. — Dispersion and Distribution of the Armenian Nation ... 607 

IV. — The. Armenian People and the Ottoman Government ... 617 
v.— The Deportations of 1915 : Antecedents ... 627 

VL— The Deportations of 1915 : Procedure 637 

Annexe A 654 

Annexe B - 657 

Annexe C 659 

Annexe D 661 

Annexe E 662 

Annexe F 664 

Index of Places referred to in the Documents 669 

150. Message, dated 22nd July, 1916, from Mr. N., of Con- 
stantinople ; communicated by the American Com- 
mittee for Armenian and Syrian Relief 684 



CORRESPONDENCE 



BETWEEN 



VISCOUNT GREY OF FALLODON 

Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs 



AND 



VISCOUNT BRYCE. 



xvi. 



LETTER FROM VISCOUNT BRYCE TO VISCOUNT GREY 
OF FALLODON, SECRETARY OF STATE 
FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS. 

July 1st, 1916. 

My dear Sir Edward, 

In the autumn of 1915 accounts of massacres and depor- 
tations of the Christian population of Asiatic Turkey began to 
reach Western Europe and the United States. Few and imperfect 
at first — for every effort was made by the Turkish Government 
to prevent them from passing out of the country — these accounts 
increased in number and fullness of detail, till in the beginning of 
1916 it became possible to obtain a fairly accurate knowledge of 
what had happened. It then struck me that, in the interest of 
historic truth, as well as with a view to the questions that must 
arise when the war ends, it had become necessary to try to 
complete these accounts, and test them by further evidence, so 
as to compile a general narrative of the events and estimate their 
significance. As materials were wanting or scanty in respect of 
some localities, I wrote to ail the persons I could think of likely 
to possess or to be able to procure trustworthy data, begging 
them to favour me with such data. I addressed myself in 
particular to friends in the United States, a country which has 
long had intimate relations with the Eastern Christians and to 
which many of those Christians have in recent years emigrated. 
Similar requests were made to Switzerland, also a neutral country, 
many of whose people have taken a hvely interest in the welfare 
of the Armenians. When the responses from these quarters 
showed that sufiicient materials for a history — provisional, no 
doubt, but trustworthy as far as the present data went — could 
be obtained, I had the good fortune to secure the co-operation 
of a young historian of high academic distinction, Mr. Arnold J. 
Toynbee, late Fellow of Balhol College, Oxford. He undertook 
to examine and put together the pieces of evidence collected, 
arranging them in order and adding such observations, historical 
and geographical, as seemed needed to explain them. The 
materials so arranged by Mr. Toynbee, followed by such observa- 
tions as aforesaid, I now transmit to you. They are, of course, 
of unequal value, for while most of them are narratives by eye- 
witnesses, some few report, at second hand what was told by 
eye-witnesses. In a short introduction prefixed, I have tried to 
estimate their value, and so need only say here that nothing has 
been admitted the substantial truth of which seems open to 
reasonable doubt. Facts only have been dealt with ; questions 
of future pohcy have been carefully avoided. 



xvii. 



It is evidently desirable not only that ascertained facts should 
be put on record for the sake of future historians, while the events 
are still fresh in living memory, but also that the public opinion 
of the belhgerent nations — and, I may add, of neutral peoples 
also — should be enabled by a knowledge of what has happened 
in Asia Minor and Armenia to exercise its judgment on the course 
proper to be followed when, at the end of the present war, a 
political re-settlement of the Nearer East has to be undertaken. 

I am, 

Yours sincerely, 

Bryce. 



B 



XVlll. 



LETTER FROM VISCOUNT GREY OF FALLODON, 
SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, 
TO VISCOUNT BRYCE. 

Foreign Office, 

August 23rd, 1916. 

My dear Bryce, 

I liave to thank you for sending me the collection of 
documents on the Armenian Massacres which has been so ably 
put together b}^ Mr. Arnold J. Toynbee. 

It is a terrible mass of evidence ; but I feel that it ought 
to be published and widely studied by all who have the broad 
interests of humanity at heart. It will be valuable, not only for 
the immediate information of public opinion as to the conduct 
of the Turkish Government towards this defenceless people, but 
also as a mine of information for historians in the future, and for 
the other purposes suggested in your letter. 



Yours sincerely, 

Grey of Fallodon. 



Documents presented to 



VISCOUNT GREY OF FALLODON 

Secretary of State for Foreign Aifairs 
By Viscount Bryce 



With a preface by 



VISCOUNT BRYCE. 



B2 



PREFACE BY VISCOUNT BRYCE. 



In the summer of 1915 accounts, few and scanty at first, 
but increasing in volume later, began to find their way out of 
Asiatic Turkey as to the events that were happening there. 
These accounts described what seemed to be an effort to ex- 
terminate a whole nation, mthout distinction of age or sex, whose 
misfortune it was to be the subjects of a Government devoid 
of scruples and of pity, and the poHcy they disclosed was one 
\vithout precedent even in the blood-stained annals of the East. 
It then became the obvious duty of those who reaUsed the gravity 
of these events to try to collect and put together all the data 
available for the purpose of presenting a fuU and authentic record 
of what had occurred. This has been done in the present volume. 
It contains all the evidence that could be obtained up till July 
1916 as to the massacres and deportations of the Armenian and 
other Eastern Christians dwelHng in Asia Minor, Armenia and 
that north-western corner of Persia which was invaded by the 
Turkish troops. It is presented primarily as a contribution to 
history, but partly also for the purpose of enabhng the civilised 
nations of Europe to comprehend the problems which will arise 
at the end of this war, when it will become necessary to provide 
for the future government of what are now the Turkish dominions. 
The compilation has been made in the spirit proper to an historical 
enquiry, that is to say, nothing has been omitted which could 
throw light on the facts, whatever the pohtical bearing of the 
accounts might be. In such an enquiry, no racial or reUgious 
sj^mpathies, no prejudices, not even the natural horror raised by 
crimes, ought to distract the mind of the enquirer from the duty 
of trying to ascertain the real facts. 

As will be seen from the analysis which follows, the evidence 
here collected comes from various sources. 

A large, perhaps the largest, part has been drawn from neutral 
mtnesses who were hving in or passing through Asiatic Turkey 
while these events were happening, and had opportunities of 
observing them. 

Another part comes from natives of the country, nearly aU 
Christians, who succeeded, despite the stringency of the Turkish 
censorship, in getting letters into neutral countries, or who 
themselves escaped into Greece, or Russia, or Egypt and were 
there able to write down what they had seen. 

A third but much smaller part comes from subjects of the 
now belhgerent Powers (mostly Germans) who were in Turkey 
when these events were happening, and subsequently pubHshed 
in their own countries accounts based on their personal knowledge. 

In presenting this evidence it has been necessary in very many 
cases to withhold the names of the witnesses, because to pubhsh 
their names would be to expose such of them as are stiU within 



xxii. 



Preface by Viscount Bryce. 



the Turkish dominions, or the relations and friends of these 
persons, to the ruthless vengeance of the gang who now rule 
those dominions in the name of the unfortunate Sultan. Even 
in the case of those neutral witnesses w^ho are safe in their 
own countries, a similar precaution must be observed, because 
many of them, or their friends and associates, have property 
in Turke}^ which would at once, despite their neutral character, 
be seized b}^ the Turkish Government. These difficulties, in- 
evitable in the nature of the case, are of course only temporary. 
The names of the great majority of the witnesses are known 
to the editor of this book and to myself*, and also to several 
other persons|, and they can be made public as soon as it is certain 
that no harm Avill result to these witnesses or to their friends. 
That certainty evidently cannot be attained till the war is over and 
the rule of the savage gang already referred to has come to an end. 

The question now arises — What is the value of this evidence ? 
Though the names of many of the witnesses cannot be given, I 
may say that most of them, and nearly all of those who belong to 
neutral or belhgerent countries, are persons entitled to confidence 
in respect of their character and standing, and are, moreover, 
persons who have no conceivable motive for inventing or per- 
verting facts, because they are (with extremely few exceptions) 
either neutrals with no national or personal or pecuniary interests 
involved, or else German subjects. Were I free to mention 
names, the trustworthiness of these neutrals and Germans would 
at once be recognised. 

Let us, however, look at the evidence itself. 

(i) Nearly all of it comes from eye-witnesses, some of whom 
Avrote it down themselves, while others gave it to persons who 
\vrote it out at the time from the statements given to them 
orallj^ Nearly all of it, moreover, was written immediately 
after the events described, when the witnesses' recollection was 
still fresh and clear. 

(ii) The main facts rest upon evidence coming from different 
and independent sources. When the same fact is stated by 
witnesses who had no communication with one another, and 
in many cases did not even speak the same language, the pre- 
sumption in favour of its trutH becomes strong. 

Take, for instance, the evidence (Section VIII.) regarding the 
particularly terrible events at Trebizond. We have a statement 
from the Italian Consul-General (Doc. 73), from the Kavass of the 
local branch of the Ottoman Bank, a Montenegrin under Italian 
protection (Doc. 74), and from an Armenian girl whose family Hved 
in the neighbourhood of the Itafian Consulate, and who was 
brought out of Turkey by the ItaHan Consul-General as his maid- 
servant. The testimony of these three witnesses exactly tallies, 
not only as to the pubHc crimes committed in the city before 
they left it, but also as to their personal relations with one another 
(for they each mention the others expHcitly in their several 

* Memorandum by the Editor, page xli. 
t Memorandum by the Editor, page xl. 



Preface by Viscount Bryce. 



xxiii. 



statements). Yet they were in no touch whatever with one 
another when thei r respective testimonies were given . The Consul- 
General gave his at Rome, in an interview with an ItaHan 
journahst ; the Kavass gave his in an interview with an Armenian 
gentleman in Egypt ; and the girl hers in Roumania to a com- 
patriot resident in that country. The three statements had 
certainly never been collated till they came, by different channels, 
into the hands of the editor of this book. In addition to this, 
there is a statement from another foreign resident at Trebizond 
(Doc. 72), which reached us through America. 

Or take the case of the convoys of exiles deported from the 
Vilayet of Erzeroum, and, in particular, from the towns of 
Erzeroum and Baibourt. We have a second-hand account of 
their fate in Doc. 2, a despatch from a well-informed source at 
Constantinople ; we have a first-hand account, which completely 
bears out the former, from a lady who was herself deported in the 
third convoy of exiles (Doc. 59) ; we have the narrative of two 
Danish nurses in the service of the German Red Cross at Erzindjan, 
who witnessed the passage of the Baibourt exiles through that 
place (Doc. 62) ; and finally there are three witnesses from the 
town of H., several days' journey further along the exiles' route, 
who refer independently to the arrival of convoys from Erzeroum 
and the neighbourhood. One of these latter witnesses is a (third) 
Danish Red Cross nurse (Doc. 64), one a neutral resident at H. of 
different nationahty, and one an Armenian inhabitant of the town. 

These are two typical instances in which broad groups of 
events are independently and consistently recorded, but there 
are innumerable instances of the same kind in the case of particular 
occurrences. The hanging of the Armenian Bishop of Baibourt, 
for example, is mentioned, at second-hand, in Doc. 7 (written 
at Constantinople) and Doc. 12 (a selection of evidence published 
in Germany) ; but it is also witnessed to by the author of Doc. 59, 
an actual resident at Baibourt who was present there at the 
time of the murder. Again, the disappearance of the Bishop 
of Erzeroum on the road to exile is not only recorded in Doc. 11, 
a memorandum from a competent source at Bukarest, but is 
confirmed, in Docs. 57 and 76, by testimony obtained from 
eye-witnesses on the spot after the Russian occupation of 
Erzeroum had left them free to speak out. 

(iii) Facts of the same, or of a very similar, nature occurring 
in different places, are deposed to by different and independent 
witnesses. As there is every reason to beheve — and indeed it is 
hardly denied — that the massacres and deportations were carried 
out under general orders proceeding from Constantinople, the 
fact that persons who knew only what was happening in one 
locality record circumstances there broadly resembhng those 
which occurred in another locahty goes to show the general 
correctness of both sets of accounts. 

Thus, the two Danish Red Cross nurses (Doc. 62) state that 
they twice witnessed the massacre, in cold blood, of gangs of 



xxiv. 



Preface by Viscount Bryce. 



unarmed Armenian soldiers employed on navvy work, along the 
road from Erzindjan to Sivas. In Doc. 7 (written at Con- 
stantinople) we find a statement that other gangs of unarmed 
Armenian soldiers were similarly murdered on the roads between 
Ourfa and Diyarbeldr, and Diyarbekir and Harpout ; t and the 
massacre on this latter section of road is confirmed by a' German 
lady resident, at the time, at Harpout (Doc. 23). 

Again, there is frequent mention of roads being fined, or 
fittered, with the corpses of Armenian exiles who had died of 
exhaustion or been murdered on the way. If these aUusions 
were merely made in general terms, they might conceivably be 
explained away as ampfifications of some isolated case, or even 
as rhetorical embelfishments of the exiles' story without founda- 
tion in fact. But when we find such statements made with 
regard to particular stretches of road in widely different locafities, 
and often by more than one witness with regard to a given stretch, 
we are led to infer that this wholesale mortafity by the wayside 
was in very deed a frequent concomitant of the Deportations, and 
an inevitable consequence of the method on which the general 
scheme of Dej^ortation was organised from headquarters. We 
hear in Doc. 7, for instance, of corpses on the road from Malatia to 
Sivas, on the testimony of a Moslem traveller ; we hear of them 
on the road from Diyarbekir to Ourfa in Doc. 12 (a German 
cavaLry'captain), and on the road from Ourfa to Aleppo in Doc. 9 
(an Armenian witness), in Doc. 135 (an interned Englishwoman), 
and also in Doc. 64 (a Danish Red Cross nurse). The latter gives 
the detail of the corpses being mangled by wild beasts, a detail 
also mentioned by the German authors of Docs. 12 and 23. 
Similar testimony from German officers regarding the road 
between Baghdad and Aleppo is reported independently in 
Docs. 108 and 121. 

(iv) The volume of this concurrent evidence from different 
quarters is so large as to establish the main facts beyond all 
question. Errors of detail in some instances may be allowed for. 
Exaggeration may, in the case of native witnesses, who were more 
fikely to be excited, be also, now and then, allowed for. But the 
general character of the events stands out, resting on foundations 
too broad to be shaken, and even details comparatively unim- 
portant in themselves are often remarkably corroborated from 
different quarters. The fact that the Zeitounfi exiles at Sultania 
were for some time prevented by the local Turkish authorities 
from receiving relief is attested in Doc. 4 (Constantinople) and 
Doc. 123 (the town of B. in Cilicia), as well as in Doc. 125 from 
Konia. The maficious trick by which the exiles from Shar were 
deflected from a good road to a bad, in order that they might be 
compelled to abandon their carts, is recorded independently in 
Docs. 12 and 126. 

(v) In particular it is to be noted that many of the most 
shocking and horrible accounts are those for which there is the 
most abundant testimony from the most trustworthy neutral 



Preface by Viscount Bryce. 



XXV. 



witnesses. None of the worst cruelties rest on native evidence 
alone. If all that class of evidence were entirely struck out, 
the general effect would be much the same, though some of the 
minor details would be wanting. One may, indeed, say that 
an examination of the neutral evidence tends to confirm the 
native evidence as^a whole by^showing that there is in it less of 
exaggeration than might have been expected. 

Docs. 7 and 9, for instance, both of which are native reports at 
second-hand, refer in somewhat rhetorical terms to the corpses of 
murdered Armenians washed down by the waters of the Tigris 
and Euphrates. Yet their words are more than justified by 
many concrete and independent pieces of evidence. The descrip- 
tion in Doc. 12 (German material) of how barge-loads of Armenians 
were drowned in the Tigris below Diyarbekir, renders more fully 
credible the accounts of how the Armenians of Trebizond were 
drowned wholesale in the Black Sea. Doc. 12 also contains the 
statement, from a German employee of the Baghdad Railway, that 
the Armenian exiles who reached Biredjik were drowned in batches 
every night in the Euphrates ; and similar horrors are reported 
from almost everj^ section of the Euphrates' course. Docs. 56, 
57, 59 and 62 describe how the convoys of exiles from the Vilayet 
of Erzeroum were cast into the Kara Su (western branch of the 
Euphrates) at the gorge called Kamakh Boghaz, and were then 
either shot in the water or left to drown. The author of Doc. 59 
was present at such a scene, though she was herself spared, and 
the information in Docs. 56 and 57 was obtained direct from a 
lady who was actually cast in, but managed to struggle to the 
bank and escape. The authors of Doc. 62 received their informa- 
tion from a gendarme who had been attached to a convoy and 
had himself participated in the massacre. Doc. 24 records the 
experiences of an Armenian woman deported from Moush, who 
was driven with her fellow-exiles into the Mourad Su (eastern 
branch of the Euphrates), but also managed to escape, though 
the rest were drowned. Doc. 66 describes corpses floating in 
the river in the neighbourhood of Kiakhta, and Doc. 137 the 
drowning of exiles in the tributaries of the Euphrates between 
Harpout and Aleppo. These are evidently instances of a regular 
practice, and when we find the exiles from Trebizond and 
Kerasond being disposed of in the same fashion in a comparatively 
distant part of the Turkish Empire, we are almost compelled to 
infer that the drowning of the exiles en masse was a definite part 
of the general scheme drawn out by the Young Turk leaders 
at Constantinople. 

Perhaps the most terrible feature of all was the suffering of 
the women with child, who were made to march with the 
convoys and gave birth to their babies on the road. This is 
alluded to in Doc. 12, from a German source, at second-hand, 
but in Docs. 129 and 137 we have the testimony of neutral 
witnesses who actually succoured these victims, so far as the 
extremity of their phght and the brutality of their escort made 



xxvi. 



Preface by Viscount Bryce. 



succour possible. It should be mentioned that in Doc. 68 an 
Armenian exile testifies to the kindness of an individual Turkish 
gendarme to one of her fellow -victims who was in these straits. 

(vi) The vast scale of these massacres and the pitiless cruelty 
with which the deportations were carried out may seem to some 
readers to throw doubt on the authenticity of the narratives. 
Can human beings (it may be asked) have perpetrated such crimes 
on innocent women and children ? But a recollection of previous 
massacres will show that such crimes are part of the long settled 
and often repeated policy of Turkish rulers. In Chios, nearly a 
century ago, the Turks slaughtered almost the whole Greek popu- 
lation of the island. In European Turkey in 1876 many thousands 
of Bulgarians were killed on the suspicion of an intended rising, 
and the outrages committed on women were, on a smaller scale, 
as bad as those here recorded. In 1895 and 1896 more than a 
hundred thousand Armenian Christians were put to death by 
Abd-ul-Hamid, many thousands of whom died as martyrs to 
their Christian faith, by abjuring which they could have saved 
their hves. All these massacres are registered not only in the 
ordinary press records of current history but in the reports of 
British diplomatic and consular officials written at the time. 
They are as certain as anything else that has happened in our day. 
There is, therefore, no antecedent improbability to be overcome 
before the accounts here given can be accepted. All that happened 
in 1915 is in the regular Une of Turkish policy. The only differ- 
ences are in the scale of the present crimes, and in the fact that 
the hngering sufferings of deportations in which the deaths were 
as numerous as in the massacres, and fell with special severity 
upon the women, have in this latest instance been added. 

The evidence is cumulative. Each part of it supports the 
rest because each part is independent of the others. The main 
facts are the same, and reveal the same plans and intentions 
at work. Even the varieties are instructive because they show 
those diversities of temper and feeling which appear in human 
nature everywhere. 

The Turkish officials are usually heartless and callous. But 
here and there we see one of a finer temper, who refuses to carry 
out the orders given him and is sometimes dismissed for his 
refusal. The Moslem rabble is usually pitiless. It pillages the 
houses and robs the persons of the hapless exiles. But now and 
then there appear pious and compassionate Moslems who try 
to save the Hves or alleviate the miseries of their Christian neigh- 
bours. We have a vivid picture of human Hfe, where wickedness 
in high places dehberately lets loose the passions of racial or 
reUgious hatred, as well as the commoner passion of rapacity, 
yet cannot extinguish those better feelings which show as points 
of light in the gloom. 

It is, however, for the reader to form his own judgment on 
these documents as he peruses them. They do not, and by the 
nature of the case cannot, constitute what is called judicial 



Preface by Viscount Bryce. 



xxvii . 



evidence, such as a Court of Justice obtains when it puts witnesses 
on oath and subjects them to cross-examination. But by far 
the larger part (almost all, indeed, of what is here published) does 
constitute historical evidence of the best kind, inasmuch as the 
statements come from those who saw the events they describe 
and recorded them in writing immediately afterwards. They 
corroborate one another, the narratives given by different 
observers showing a substantial agreement, which becomes 
conclusive when we find the sahent facts repeated with no more 
variations in detail than the various opportunities of the inde- 
pendent observers made natural. The gravest facts are those 
for which the evidence is most complete, and it all tallies fatally 
with that which twenty years ago estabhshed the guilt of Abd- 
ul-Hamid for the deeds that have made his name infamous. 
In this case there are, moreover, what was wanting then, admis- 
sions which add weight to the testimony here presented, I mean 
the admissions of the Turkish Government and of their German 
apologists.* The attempts made to find excuses for wholesale 
slaughter and for the removal of a whole people from its homes 
leave no room for doubt as to the slaughter and the removal. 
The main facts are established by the confession of the criminals 
themselves. What the evidence here presented does is to show 
in detail how these things were effected, what cruelties accom- 
panied them, and how inexcusable they were. The disproval of 
the paUiations which the Turks have put forward is as complete 
as the proof of the atrocities themselves. 

In order to test the soundness of my own conclusions as to 
the value of the evidence, I have submitted it to the judgment 
of three friends, men for whose opinion everyone who knows 
them will have the highest respect — a distinguished historian, 
Mr. H. A. L. Fisher (Vice Chancellor of the University of 
Sheffield) ; a distinguished scholar, Mr. Gilbert Murray (Professor 
of Greek in the University of Oxford) ; and a distinguished 
American lawyer of long experience and high authority, Mr. 
Moorfield Storey, of Boston, Mass. — men accustomed in their 
respective walks of life to examine and appraise evidence ; and I 
append the letters which convey their several views. 

This preface is intended to deal only with the credibility of 
the evidence here presented, so I will refrain from comment on 

* For instance, the conversation of a German officer reported in 
Doc. 108, p. 420. For the general attitude of the Turks and Geimans 
towards the treatment of the Armenians, see " Historical Summary," 
chapter V, 

On the 11th January, 1916, Herr von Stumm, Chief of the Political 
Department of the German Foreign Office, gave the following answer in 
the Reichstag to a question from Dr. Liebknecht : 

"It is known to the Imperial Chancellor that revolutionary demon- 
strations, organised by our enemies, have taken place in Armenia, and 
that they have caused the Turkish Government to expel the Armenian 
population of certain districts and to allot to them new dwelling-places. 
An exchange of views about the reaction of these measures upon the 
population is now taking place. Further information cannot be given." 



xxviii. 



Preface by Viscount Bryce. 



the facts. A single observation, or rather a single question, 
may, however, be permitted from one who has closely followed the 
history of the Turldsh East for more than forty years. European 
travellers have often commended the honesty and the kindliness 
of the Turkish peasantry, and our soldiers have said that they 
are fair fighters. Against them I have nothing to say, and ^^dll 
even add that I have known individual Turkish officials who 
impressed me as men of honesty and good-will. But the record 
of the rulers of Turkey for the last two or three centuries, from the 
Sultan on his throne down to the district Mutessarif, is, taken as 
a whole, an almost unbroken record of corruption, of injustice, 
of an oppression which often rises into hideous cruelty. The 
Young Turks, when they deposed Abd-ul-Hamid, came forward 
as the apostles of freedom, promising equal rights and equal 
treatment to all Ottoman subjects. The facts here recorded 
show how that promise was kept. Can any one still continue to hope 
that the evils of such a government are curable ? Or does the 
evidence contained in this volume furnish the most terrible and 
convincing proof that it can no longer be permitted to rule over 
subjects of a different faith ? 



BRYCE. 



Letter from Mr. H. A. L. Fisher. 



xxix. 



LETTER FROM MR. H. A. L. FISHER, 
VICE-CHANCELLOR OF SHEFFIELD UNIVERSITY, 
TO VISCOUNT BRYCE. 

The University, 
Sheffield, 

August 2nd, 1916. 

My dear Lord Bryce, 

The evidence here collected with respect to the sufferings 
of the Armenian subjects of the Ottoman Empire during the 
present war will carry conviction wherever and whenever it is 
studied by honest enquirers. It bears upon the face of it all the 
marks of credibiHty. In the first place, the transactions were 
recorded soon after they took place and while the memory of 
them was stiU fresh and poignant. Then the greater part of the 
story rests upon the word of eye-witnesses, and the remainder 
upon the evidence of persons who had special opportunities for 
obtaining correct information. It is true that some of the 
witnesses are Armenians, whose testimony, if otherwise uncon- 
firmed, might be regarded as liable to be over-coloured or dis- 
torted, but the Armenian evidence does not stand alone. It is 
corroborated by reports received from Americans, Danes, Swiss, 
Germans, ItaUans and other foreigners. Again, this foreign 
testimony comes for the most part from men and women whose 
calHng alone entitles them to be heard with respect, that is to say, 
from witnesses who may' fairly be expected to exceed the average 
level of character andUntelligence and to view the transactions 
which they record with as much detachment as^is compatible' with 
human feeling. Indeed, the foreign witnesses who happened to 
be spectators of the deportation, dispersion, and massacre of the 
Armenian nation, do not strike me as being, in any one case, blind 
and indiscriminate haters of the Turk. They are prompt to notice 
facts which strike them as creditable to individual members of the 
Moslem community. 

I am also impressed with the cumulative effect of the evidence. 
Whoever speaks, and from whatever quarter in the wide region 
covered by these reports the voice may proceed, the story is 
one and the same. There are no discrepancies or contradictions 
of importance, but, on the contrary, countless scattered pieces 
of mutual corroboration. There is no contrariety as to the broad 
fact that the Armenian population has been uprooted from its 
homes, dispersed, and, to a large though not exactly calculable 
extent, exterminated in consequence of general orders issued 
from Constantinople. It is clear that a catastrophe, conceived 
upon a scale quite unparalleled in modern history, has been 
contrived for the Armenian inhabitants of the Ottoman Empire. 
It is found that the original responsibility rests with the Ottoman 
Government at Constantinople, whose policy was actively seconded 
by the members of the Committee of Union and Progress in the 
Provinces. And in view of the fact that the representations 



xxx. 



Letter from Mr. H. A. L. Fisher. 



of the Austrian Ambassador with the Porte were e£Pectual in 
procuring a partial measure of exemption for the Armenian 
Catholics, we are led to surmise that the unspeakable horrors which 
this volume records might have been mitigated, if not wholly 
checked, had active and energetic remonstrances been from the first 
moment addressed to the Ottoman Government by the two Powers 
who had acquired a predominant influence in Constantinople. The 
evidence, on the contrary, tends to suggest that these two Powers 
were, in a general way, favourable to the pohcy of deportation. 

Yours sincerely, 

HerbertJ^ Fisher, 



Letter from Professor Gilbert Murray. 



xxxi. 



LETTER FROM PROFESSOR GILBERT MURRAY, 

REGIUS PROFESSOR OF GREEK IN THE 
UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD, TO VISCOUNT BRYCE. 

82, Woodstock Road, 
Oxford, 

June 21th, 1916. 

Dear Lord Bryce, 

I have spent some time studying the documents you are 
about to pubhsh relative to the deportations and massacres of 
Armenians in the Turkish Empire during the spring and summer 
of 1915. I know, of course, how carefully a historian should 
scrutinize the evidence for events so starthng in character, reported 
to have occurred in regions so far removed from the eyes of 
civilized Europe. I reahze that in times of persecution passions 
run high, that oriental races tend to use hyperboHcal language, 
and that the victims of oppression cannot be expected to speak 
with strict fairness of their oppressors. But the evidence of 
these letters and reports will bear any scrutiny and overpower 
any scepticism. Their genuineness is established beyond question, 
though obviously you are right in withholding certain of the names 
of persons and places. The statements of the Armenian refugees 
themselves are fully confirmed by residents of American, Scan- 
dinavian and even of German nationahty ; and the undesigned 
agreement between so many credible witnesses from widely 
separate districts puts all the main lines of the story beyond the 
possibility of doubt. 

I remain, 

Yours sincerely, 

Gilbert Murray, 



xxxii. 



Letter from Mr. Moovfield Storey. 



LETTER FROM MR. MOORFIELD STOREY, 

EX-PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN 
BAR ASSOCIATION, TO VISCOUNT BRYCE. 

735, Exchange Building, 
Boston, U.S., 

1th August, 1916. 

My dear Sir, 

I have examined considerable portions of the volume 
which contains the statements regarding the treatment of the 
Armenians by the Turks, in order to determine the value of these 
statements as evidence. 

I have no doubt that, while there may be inaccuracies of 
detail, these statements estabhsh without any question the 
essential facts. It must be borne in mind that in such a case 
the evidence of eye-witnesses is not easily obtained ; the victims, 
with few exceptions, are dead ; the perpetrators will not confess ; 
any casual spectators cannot be reached, and in most cases are 
either in sympathy with what was done or afraid to speak. 
There are no tribunals before which witnesses can be summoned 
and compelled to testify, and a rigid censorship is maintained by 
the authorities responsible for the crimes, which prevents the 
truth from coming out freely, and no investigation by impartial 
persons wall be permitted. 

Such statements as you print are the best evidence which, 
in the circumstances, it is possible to obtain. They come from 
persons holding positions which give weight to their words, and 
from other persons with, no motive to falsify, and it is impossible 
that such a body of concurring evidence should have been manu- 
factured. Moreover, it is confirmed by evidence from German 
sources which has with difficulty escaped the rigid censorship 
maintained by the German authorities — a censorship which is in 
itself a confession, since there is no reason why the Germans 
should not give full currency to such evidence unless the authori- 
ties felt themselves in some way responsible for what it discloses. 

In my opinion, the evidence which you print is as rehable as 
that upon which rests our behef in many of the universally 
admitted facts of history, and I think it estabhshes beyond any 
reasonable doubt the deliberate purpose of the Turldsh authorities 
practically to exterminate the Armenians, and their responsibihty 
for the hideous atrocities which have been perpetrated upon that 
unhappy people. 

Yours truly, 

Moorfield Storey. 



Letter from Four German Missionaries. 



xxxiii. 



LETTER, DATED ALEPPO, 8th OCTOBER, 1915, FROM 
FOUR MEMBERS OF THE GERMAN MISSIONS 
STAFF IN TURKEY TO THE IMPERIAL GERMAN 
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AT BERLIN.* 

We think it our duty to draw the attention of the Ministry of 
Foreign Affairs to the fact that our school work will be deprived, 
for the future, of its moral basis and will lose all authority in the 
eyes of the natives, if it is really beyond the power of the German 
Government to mitigate the brutality of the treatment which 
the exiled women and children of the massacred Armenians are 
receiving. 

In face of the scenes of horror which are being unfolded daily 
before our eyes in the neighbourhood of our school, our educational 
activity becomes a mockery of humanity. How can we make 
our pupils listen to the Tales of the Seven Dwarfs, how can we 
teach them conjugations and declensions, when, in the compounds 
next door to our school, death is carrying off their starving com- 
patriots — when there are girls and women and children, practically 
naked, some lying on the ground, others stretched between the 
dead or the coffins made ready for them beforehand, and breathing 
their last breath ! 

Out of 2,000 to 3,000 peasant women from the Armenian Plateau 
who were brought here in good health, only forty or fifty skeletons 
are left. The prettier ones are the victims of their gaolers' lust ; 
the plain ones succumb to blows, hunger and thirst (they lie by 
the water's edge, but are not allowed to quench their thirst). 
The Europeans are forbidden to distribute bread to the starving. 
Every day more than a hundred corpses are carried out of Aleppo. 

All this happens under the eyes of high Turkish officials. 
There are forty or fifty emaciated phantoms crowded into the 
compound opposite our school. They are women out of their 
mind ; they have forgotten how to eat ; when one offers them 
bread, they throw it aside with indifference. They only groan and 
wait for death. 

'* See," say the natives : " Taahm el Aim an (the teaching of 
the Germans)." 

The German scutcheon is in danger of being smirched for ever 
in the memory of the Near Eastern peoples. There are natives 
of Aleppo, more enlightened than the rest, who say : " The 
Germans do not want these horrors. Perhaps the German nation 
does not know about them. If it did, how could the German 
Press, which is attached to the truth, talk about the humanity 
of the treatment accorded to the Armenians who are guilty of 

* A copy of this letter was communicated to the Berner Tagwacht by 
Dr. Forel, a Swiss gentleman, and reproduced in the Journal de Genhe, 
17th August, 1916. It was signed by four persons — Dr. Grater (of Swiss 
nationality). Dr. Niepage (of German nationahty), and two others whose 
names have been withheld^by^Dr. Forel. — Editor. 



xxxiv. 



Letter from Four German Missionaries. 



High Treason ? Perhaps, too, the German Government has its 
hands tied by some contract defining the powers of the [German 
and Turkish] States in regard to one another's affairs ? " 

No, when it is a question of giving over thousands of women 
and children to death by starvation, the words " Opportunism " 
and " definition of powers " lose their meaning. Every civihsed 
human being is " empowered " in this case to interfere, and it is 
his bounden duty to do so. Our prestige in the East is the thing 
at stake. There are even Turks and Arabs who have remained 
human, and who shake their heads in sorrow when they see, in 
the exile convoys that pass through the town, how the brutal 
soldiers shower blows on women with child who can march no 
farther. 

We may expect further and still more dreadful hecatombs 
after the order published by Djemal Pasha. (The engineers of 
the Baghdad Railway are forbidden, by this order, to photograph 
the Armenian convoys ; any plates they have already used for 
this must be given up within twenty-four hours, under penalty 
of prosecution before the Council of War.) It is a proof that the 
responsible authorities fear the fight, but have no intention of 
putting an end to scenes which are a disgrace to humanity. 

\fWe know that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already, 
from other sources, received detailed descriptions of what is 
happening here. But as no change has occurred in the system 
of the deportations, we feel ourselves under a double obfigation 
to make this report, all the more because the fact of our fiving 
abroad enables us to see more clearly the immense danger by 
which the German name is threatened here. 



Memorandum by the Editor. 



xxxr. 



MEMORANDUM BY THE EDITOR. 

As far as their contents are concerned, the documents collected 
in this volume explain themselves, and if any reader wishes for 
an outline of the events they describe, as a guide to their detail, 
he will find it in the " Historical Summary " at the end of the 
book, especially in Section V. In this preliminary memorandum 
the Editor has simply to state the sources, character and value of 
the documents, and to explain the system on which they have 
been edited. 

The sources of the documents are very varied. Some of them 
were communicated to the Editor directly by the writers them- 
selves, or, in the case of private letters, by the persons to whom the 
letters were addressed. Several of those relating to the distribu- 
tion of rehef in Russian Caucasia have been placed in his hands 
by the courtesy of the British Foreign Office. Others, again, he 
owes to the courtesy of individuals, including Lord Bryce, who 
has superintended the work throughout, and given most 
generously of his time and thought towards making it as accurate 
and complete as possible ; several members of the American 
Committee . for Armenian and Syrian Relief* ; the Rev. 
G. T. Scott, Assistant Secretary of the Board of Foreign 
Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. ; M. Arshag 
Tchobanian ; Dr. Herbert Adams Gibbons ; Dr. Wilham Walter 
Rockwell, of the Union Theological Seminary of New York ; 
the Rev. Stephen Trowbridge, Secretary of the American Red 
Cross Committee at Cairo ; the Rev. I. N. Camp, a missionary in 
the service of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign 
Missions, at present stationed at Cairo ; Aneurin WilUams, 
Esq., M.P. ; the Rev. Harold Buxton, Treasurer of the Armenian 

♦ AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF. 
70, Fifth Avenue, New York. 

Including work of the Armenian ReHef, the Persian War Relief, and 

the Syrian-Palestine Relief Committees. 
James L. Barton. Samuel T. Dutton. Walter H. Mallory. 

Chairman. Secretary. Field Secretary. 

Charles R. Crane, Treasurer. 
Arthur J. Brown. John Moffat. 

Edwin M. Bulkley. John R. Mott. 

John B. Calvert. Frank Mason North. 

John D. Crimmins. Harry V. Osborne. 

Cleveland H. Dodge. George A. Plimpton. 

Charies W. Ehot. Rt. Rev. P. Rhinelander. 

William T. Ellis. Karl Davis Robinson. 

James Cardinal Gibbons. William W. Rockwell. 

Rt. Rev. David H. Greer. George T. Scott. 

Norman Hapgood. Isaac N. Seligman. 

Maurice H. Harris. William Sloane. 

William I. Haven. Edward Lincoln Smith. 

Hamilton Holt. James M. Speers. 

Arthur Curtiss James. Oscar M. Straus. 

Frederick Lynch. Stanley White. 



Chas. S. MacFarland. Talcott Williams. 

H. Pereira Mendes. Stephen S. Wise. 



02 



xxxvi. 



Memorandum by the Editor. 



Refugees (Lord Mayor's) Fund ; Mr. J. D. Bourchier, cor- 
respondent of the London Times newspaper in the Balkans ; 
Mrs. D. S. MargoUouth, of Oxford ; the Rev. F. N. Heazell, 
Organising Secretary of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Assyrian 
IMission ; Mr. G. H. Paehan, an American citizen resident in 
London ; Mr. A. S. Safrastian, of Tiflis ; and Mr. H. N. Mosdit- 
chian, of London. Another source of material has been the Press. 
Despatches, letters and statements have been reprinted in this 
volume from the columns of English, American, Swiss, French, 
Russian, Italian and also German newspapers, and from Armenian 
journals published at Tiflis, London and New York. The editors 
of Ararat, Gotchnag and the New Armenia have shown the Editor 
of this volume every possible kindness, and have courteously 
presented him with free copies of their current issues. 

The documents are all rendered here in English, but they 
reached the Editor's hands in various languages — not only English 
but French, Italian, German and Armenian. The translations 
from the French, German and ItaUan have been made by the 
Editor with the assistance of his wife. For the translation of 
documents from the Armenian he is indebted to Mr. Paelian, who 
has devoted a large part of his scanty leisure to doing the Editor 
this most valuable service. But for Mr. Paelian's promptness 
and good will, the work might have been considerably delayed. 

The character of the documents varies with the writers. Some 
of the witnesses are native Armenian or Nestorian inhabitants of 
the Near East, who were either victims of the atrocities themselves 
or were intimately connected with others who played a direct 
part in the scenes described. A majority of the witnesses, how- 
ever, are foreign residents in the Ottoman Empire or the Persian 
Province of Azerbaijan, and nearly all these, again, are citizens 
of neutral countries, either European or American — missionaries, 
teachers, doctors. Red Cross nurses or officials. A few witnesses 
(and these are the weightiest of all) are subjects of states allied 
to Turkey in the present war. 

The value of the documents of course depends upon the 
witnesses' standing and character, and upon the opportunities 
they possessed of knowing the facts. The Editor is certain in 
his own mind that all the documents pubhshed here are genuine 
statements of the truth, and he presents them in this assurance. 
Errors will, doubtless, be here and there discovered, but he 
believes that any errors there may be have been made in good 
faith, and that they will prove to touch only points of detail, 
which do not affect the truth of the whole. At the same time he 
realises that, considered as legal evidence before a court, the 
documents differ considerably in probative value. From this 
legal point of view, they can be tabulated in several classes : — 

(a) Evidence pubhshed by the editor of a German journal 
in Germany, and suppressed by the Imperial German 
Censorship (Doc. 12). This evidence is, of course, 
above any suspicion of prejudice against the Turks, 



Memorandumlpy the Editor. 



XXX vii. 



(6) Documents written by German eye-witnesses of the 
events they describe (Docs. 18, 23, 91, 145), or by 
neutral eye-witnesses resident in Turkey in the service 
of German missionary or philanthropic institutions, or 
of the German Red Cross (Docs. 62, 64, 117, 142). 
This evidence is equally above suspicion of partiaHty 
against the Turks or in favour of the Armenians. 

(c) Documents written by other neutral eye-witnesses, 
principally American and Swiss, who have no con- 
nection, either pubHc or private, with the Turco- 
German AlHance or with the Entente, and who are 
presumably without bias towards either party. Docu- 
ments of such authorship constitute the bulk of the 
material in this volume, and practically all of them are 
written at first hand. There are no apparent grounds 
for not reposing full confidence in them. 

(d) Documents written by Armenian or Nestorian natives 
of the regions concerned. This native evidence may 
be thought to have somewhat less cogency than the 
rest, as the witnesses have suffered personally from the 
horrors they describe, and are open to stronger in- 
fluences of prejudice and emotion than foreign observers. 
Errors of detail are more Hkely to occur here, especially 
as regards estimates of numbers. The Editor wishes 
to repeat, however, that, after comparing the different 
statements of these native witnesses with one another, 
and with the documents in the three preceding classes, 
he is convinced of the substantial accuracy of all the 
evidence, of whatever class, that is presented in this 
volume. 

The total body of evidence is large, as the considerable bulk 
of the volume shows, and this is the more satisfactory because the 
Ottoman Government has taken every possible precaution to 
prevent any knowledge of its proceedings from reaching the outer 
world. Private postal and telegraphic communications were 
suspended between Constantinople and the provinces, and between 
one province and another. There was a stringent censorship 
of outgoing mails, even the consuls of neutral countries were for- 
bidden to telegraph in cypher, and travellers leaving Turkey were 
searched and divested of every scrap of paper, whether written 
upon or blank, in their possession. A quotation from a letter, 
written by the author of one of our documents* just after she had 
safely passed beyond the Ottoman frontier, wiU give some idea 
of the severity of this official embargo upon news of every sort : 

" As I was coming out from under the hands of the censor, 
I was asked to write to you, teUing you something of the real 
situation in our part of the world. In my opinion the censorship 
now is worse than it was in the olden days, for now they have such 
highly trained mjen. One of our censors had a five years' training 

* Doc. 121. 



Mimorandum by th$ Mdiif, 



in the New York Post^Office. If ourjetters soem to tell you little, 
please remember^that there are the Btrictest^orders^against the 
censor's passing anything on politics, war^or even poverty. 
Any sentences that even touch on these subjects are either out 
out or marked or blotted out with ink. A German lady even wrote 
to a friend of hers in Germany, teUing her of poverty in BM. 
and asking her to send rehef funds. She purposely mentioned no 
causes for this poverty, but only said there was such a condition. 
The only parts of the letter that reached her friend were the 
opening and closing sentences. The knife had claimed the rest. 
So, as Mrs. E. said : ' Please tell our friends in America that 
when we write about concerts and field meets and such things, 
that does not show that the country is safe or that work is as 
usual. We write about that simply because there is nothing 
else about which we are allowed to write.' ** 

Nearly all our evidence, therefore, comes from residents in 
Turkey who witnessed, hke this lady, the events that occurred 
in some particular district or districts, and subsequently left 
Turkey for some other country, where they could record what 
they had seen without endangering their fives. Yet, even on 
neutral ground, these witnesses are not beyond the reach of 
Turkish resentment. Many of them are anxious to take up their 
work again in Turkey at the earfiest opportunity, and nearly 
aU of them still have interests in the country, or fellow-workers, 
or friends, who are so many gages in the Ottoman Government's 
hands. That Government is known to have agents in Europe, 
and possibly in America as well, whose business it is to inform 
against anyone who exposes its misdeeds ; and the Young 
Turkish gang, by whom the Ottoman Government is controUed, 
have no shame and no scruple about wreaking vengeance by any 
and every means upon accusers whose indictments they are 
wholly unable to answer before the judgment seat of the civilised 
world. It is, therefore, absolutely essential to withhoM in many 
cases the names of the witnesses themselvi^s. and of people, or 
even of places, mentioned in their testimony. In fact, some of the 
documents have only been communicated to the Editor on this 
express condition — for instance, the document enclosed with the 
letter quoted a few fines above. " May T ask you,; however," 
continues this very letter, " not to publish my name^or that of 
any missionary from BM., not even the name of BM. itself or 
any of the places which I shall mention, as the censorship is so 
strict and terrible now that the mention of names brings us under 
suspicion at once. May I instance ? Dr. E. and Dr. L. havd been 
under such suspicion or ill-will that they have not been able to 
get a simple family letter through to members of their family 
in America for months, and the whole station of AC. is under 
sufficient suspicion to prevent most of the letteva they write to 
you and Mr. N. from reaching their destination. The reason, we 
feel quite certain, is a report on Moslem work which was sent to 
you." 



Memorandum by the Editor. 



xxxix. 



And the same considerations are urged even more emphatically 
by Miss A., the author of Doc. 137, who is our chief witness 
for the occurrences at AG. itself : — 

For the sake of the people left in Turkey, and^especially 
my orphan children, I hope nothing will be published as from me. 
If any word of it should get into Turkey, it might have very serious 
consequences for them. 

" Although very few magazines or papers were allowed into 
the interior, yet occasional] y we saw one. In the coast towns, 
pieces are being cut from the papers, and sold at high prices to 
Turks. I left my post iust because I thought my presence there 
might make it hard for those under my charge ; but if anything 
that I am supposed to have told gets back into Turkey, I fear the 
whole of my commum'ty may have to suffer. I do not think 
that those outside Turkey fully realise what danger there is, even 
in letters, to those left in. the country. The local authorities 
seemed to be always on the watch for something to find as a cause 
of complaint against both missionaries and Armenians. 

" The poor refugees that we saw in BF. as we passed through 
begged us to help them, but, when we got to BJ., the missionaries 
there said they had been forbidden to give aid. One woman had 
been taken to the Government Building because she had been 
found helping some poor famihes in her own district that she had 
been viiiting for years. There were many sick at BF,, and the 
pastor and others sent post-cards, begging us to send help quickly. 
One man asked me to lend him some money, saying I could get 
it back from his brother in America. It was the danger to him 
that made me hesitate. The money was finally sent, but one 
feared to think what it might be an excuse for. And so over all 
the country. 

" All the time when people were in great need, the question was 
in one's mind : ' Will rehef endanger their fives V New rules 
were constantly being sprung upon us. A person would write 
a letter, but before it reached its destination it would be ' against 
the regulations.' 

" AU money in banks and all property belonging to the exiles 
was confiscated by the Government. The people who were de- 
ported from AC. did not know it, but when they had used up all 
that they had taken with them, they would write to us. It was 
in this way that we found out that they had neither money nor 
property left ; but we were powerless to let them know what the 
difficulty was, so they would write again and again. 

" Ail the time, we felt we were in a trap. The most courageous 
Armenians dared not come to see me, nor could I go to their 
homes. We had to meet at some pubfic building if they wanted 
to see me about anything. 

" No one fiving in freedom can understand what it feels Uk© 
to be in Turkey these days." 



xl. 



Memorandum by the Editor. 



In face of this, the reader will see for himself that the publica- 
tion' of names, under present circumstances, would often be a 
grave and perilous breach of trust, and the Editor has, therefore, 
(though only where absolutely necessary, and without making 
any change whatever affecting the substance of the documents), 
substituted arbitrary symbols for the names of persons and places 
in the text, in the manner shown in the preceding quotation. 
A complete key to these symbols has been prepared and com- 
municated, in confidence, to the British Foreign Office, Lord 
Bryce, Dr. Barton, and the Rev. G. T. Scott ; and this key will be 
published as soon as circumstances permit, or, in other words, 
as soon as the dangers which would threaten the persons referred 
to have ceased to exist. 

The Ottoman Government and its alhes, whose good name is 
almost as seriously compromised as the Ottoman name by the 
facts, may be expected to make what capital they can out 
of the precautions imposed by their own treatment of their 
Christian subjects, and to impugn the genuineness of the docu- 
ments that have been edited in the way here described. That was 
the course they adopted in the case of the evidence relating to the 
conduct of the German Army in Belgium, which was pubUshed 
with the same, equally necessary, reservations. The Editor 
can best forestall such disingenuous criticism by stating clearly 
the principles on which this suppression of names has been made : 
(a) Names of persons are not pubhshed in this volume 
unless they have already appeared pubhcly, in the same 
connection, in print, or unless the person in question 
is clearly beyond the reach of Turkish revenge. 
(6) Names of places are pubhshed wherever possible. 
They are only withheld when they would be certain 
to reveal the identity of persons mentioned in con- 
nection with them, 
(c) All names withheld are represented in the text by 
capital letters of the alphabet or combinations of 
capital letters. These letters are not the initials of 
the names in question, but were assigned in an arbitrary 
order, as the various documents happened to come 
into the Editor's hands. 
{d) The name of a place is always represented by the same 
symbol throughout the volume, e.g., "X." stands for the 
same place, whether it occurs in Section I. or Section XI. 
(e) In the case of the names of people the same symbol 
only stands for the same person within a single section, 
e.g., " Miss A." stands for the same person, in whatever 
document it occurs in Section XVII. ; but in the 
documents of Section XI. " Miss A." represents some- 
one different. 

The Editor wishes to state, once more, that these documents 
in which names are represented by symbols are not a whit less valid, 
as evidence, than the documents in which no such substitutions 



Memorandum by the Editor. 



xli. 



have had to be made. If the reader desires confirmation of this, 
the Editor would refer him to the gentlemen mentioned above, 
who have been placed in possession of the confidential key. 

There are other documents, however, where the names have, 
on similar grounds, been withheld from the Editor himself, 
either by the authors of the documents or by those through whose 
hands the Editor obtained them, or where the ultimate source 
of the testimony is for some reason obscure. The Editor has 
been careful to indicate these cases as conspicuously as possible. 
Where there is any name, either of a place or of a person, unknown 

to him in the text, he has represented it by a blank ( ). 

Where the name of the author of the document is unknown to 
him, he has stated this in a footnote to the title by which the 
document is headed.* 

The Editor is, of course, aware that these documents which he 
only possesses in a defective form cannot be presented as 
evidence in the strict sense by himself, and can plausibly be 
repudiated by the parties whose crimes they describe. He is the 
more content to admit this legal objection to them because they 
merely confirm what is estabhshed by the other evidence 
independently of them. They constitute no more than twenty - 
two out of the 150 documents in the whole collection, and, if they 
are passed over, the picture presented by the far larger mass of 
documents that cannot be impugned remains perfectly precise 
and complete. The Editor has chosen to pubhsh them, in their 
natural order, with the rest, because he has no more doubt about 
their genuineness than about the genuineness of the others — and 
with good reason, for, out of the twenty-two documents in 
question, not less then eleven have been communicated to him 
by the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Rehef — 
citizens of high standing in a neutral country and gentlemen of 
unimpeachable good faith. He repeats, however, that these 
Twenty-two documents are in no way essential to the presentation 
of the case as a whole. 

The documents are arranged in groups, in a geographical 
order, which is adjusted as far as possible to the general chrono- 
logical order in which the different regions were affected by the 
Ottoman Government's scheme. The first group or section con- 
tains documents that do not confine themselves to any one region, 
but give general descriptions of events occurring throughout the 
Ottoman Empire. These documents are for the most part earher 
in date than those relating to particular districts, and are there- 
fore placed at the beginning. The second section opens the 
geographical series with the documents relating to Van, the north- 
easternmost province of the Ottoman Empire in the direction of 
the Caucasus and Azerbaijan. The third section deals with Bitlis, 
the province adjoining Van on the west, which suffered next in 

* In other words, wherever the title of a document is given without such 
a footnote, that means that the Editor is in possession of the author's name, 
even if the name is not pubUshed but represented by a symbol {e.g., " Dr. 
L."), or by such periphrases as " A foreign resident," &c. 



xlii. 



Memorandum by the Editor. 



order ; the fourth with Azerbaijan, the Persian province on the 
eastern side of Van, which suffered during the Turkish offensive in 
the winter of 1914-5 ; the tifth with Russian Trans-Caucasia, where 
the refugees from Van and Azerbaijan sought refuge in August, 
1915. The succeeding sections foUow one another in geographical 
order from east to^west, beginning with Erzeroum, the border 
province adjoining ^Van on the north-west along the Russo- 
Turkish frontier. Erzeroum constitutes the sixth section, 
Mamouret-ul-Aziz the seventh, Trebizond the eighth, Sivas the 
ninth, Kaisaria the tenth, the town of X. the eleventh, Angora 
the twelfth, Constantinople and the adjacent districts the 
thirteenth. From this point the sections run in reverse order 
from north-west to south-east, following the track of the Baghdad 
Railway. The fourteenth section deals with places along this 
route between (but excluding) Adapazar and Aleppo ; the fifteenth 
deals with CiHcia, the region through which the Baghdad Railway 
passes half-way along its course, and this is the only case in 
which the chronological and geographical arrangements seriously 
conflict, for the Cihcians were the first to suffer — they were already 
being deported twelve days before fighting broke out at Van. The 
sixteenth section is Jibal Mousa, a group of villages adjoining 
Ghcia on the south ; the seventeenth the Armenian colonies at 
Ourfa and AC, two cities on the Mesopotamian fringe ; the 
eighteenth Aleppo, upon which nearly all the convoys of exiles 
converged ; and the nineteenth Damascus and Der-el-Zor, the two 
districts where the greater part of the survivors were finally 
deposited. A twentieth section has also been added for docu- 
ments received while the volume was in the press. 

Wherever a date is given without further indication, it may be 
assumed to be in " New Style." Where two alternative dates 
are given (e.g.y 26th September /9th October), the first is " Old 
Style " and the second New." Dates are never given in 
'* Old Style " alone. Where sums of money are given in Turkish 
or Persian units, the EngHsh equivalent is usually added in 
brackets. Sums given in doUars have always been translated into 
EngHsh pounds sterhng. 

The names of places have not been spelt on any consistent 
system, there being no recognised system in general use. The 
Editor has merely endeavoured to standardise the speUing of 
each particular name wherever it occurs. 

An index of all places referred to by name in the documents 
that are in the Editor's possession, whether the name has been 
withheld in the text or not, has been compiled for him most 
accurately by Miss Margaret Toynbee, to whom he is grateful 
for this important addition to the usefulness of the book. This 
index is printed at the end of the volume. The map which 
accompanies it has been compiled by the Editor himseff from 
various sources, chiefly from Kiepert's excellent sheets of Asia 
Minor, in the Map Room of the Royal Geographical Society, where 
he has received most kind and valuable assistance from the staff. 



I. GENERAL DESCRIPTIONS. 



The Ottoman Government did its utmost to prevent the news 
of what it was doing to the Armenians from leaking through to the 
outer world. A stringent censorship was established at all the 
frontiers, private communication was severed between Constantinople 
and the provinces, and the provinces themselves were isolated from 
one another. Nearly all our information has been obtained from 
witnesses who succeeded in making their way out of Turkey after 
the massacres and deportations had occurred, and who wrote down 
their experiences after reaching America or Europe. The evidence 
of these witnesses is first-hand, but it is mostly confined to the 
particular region in which each witness happened to reside, and 
it has therefore been grouped in this collection province by province, 
in geographical order. We possess, however, certain general accounts 
which reached Europe and America at an earlier date, for the most 
part, than the individual narratives, and they are printed here in 
advance of the rest — partly for the chronological reason, and partly 
because they give a broad survey of what happened, which may 
impress the general features upon the reader before he approaches 
the detailed testimony of the sections that follow. 

In contrast to the bulk of our evidence, the majority of these 
preliminary documents give their information at second-hand ; 
but practically every statement they make is more than borne out 
in detail by the first-hand witnesses, and this is particularly the case 
with the more startling and appalling of the facts they record. 

The most interesting document in this section is No, 12, which 
was compiled from German sources, published in a German journal, 
and immediately suppressed by the German Censorship. 



nth AUGUST, 1915. 



1. DESPATCH* FROM MR. HENRY WOOD, CORRESPONDENT OP 
THE AMERICAN " UNITED PRESS " AT CONSTANTINOPLE ; 
PUBLISHED Ji IN THE AMERICAN PRESS, 14th AUGUST, 1915. 

So critical is the situation that Ambassador Morgenthau, 
who alone is fighting to prevent wholesale slaughter, has felt 
obUged to ask the co-operation of the Ambassadors of Turkey's 
two Alhes. They have been successful to the extent of securing 
definite promises from the leading members of the Young Turk 
Government that no orders will be given for massacres. The 
critical moment for the Armenians, however, will come, it is 
feared, when the Turks may meet with serious reverses in the 
Dardanelles or when the Armenians themselves, who not only 
are in open revolt but are actually in possession of Van and 
several other important towns, may meet with fresh successes. 
It is this uprising of the Armenians who are seeking to estabHsh 
an independent government that the Turks declare is alone 
responsible for the terrible measures now being taken against 
themf. In the meantime, the position of the Armenians and the 
system of deportation, dispersion, and extermination that is 
being carried out against them beggars all description. 

Although the present renewal of the Armenian atrocities 
has been under way for three months, it is only just now that 
reports creeping into Constantinople from the remotest points 
of the interior show that absolutely no portion of the Armenian 
population has been spared. It now appears that the order for 
the present cruelties was issued in the early part of May, and was 
at once put into execution with all the extreme genius of the 
-Turkish poHce system — the one department of government for 
which the Turks have ever shown the greatest aptitude, both in 
organisation and administration. At that time sealed orders 
were sent to the poUce of the entire Empire. These were to be 
opened on a specified date that would ensure the orders being 
in the hands of every department at the moment they were to 
be opened. Once opened, they provided for a simultaneous 
descent at practically the same moment on the Armenian popu- 
lation of the entire Empire. 

At Broussa, in Asiatic Turkey, the city which it is expected 
the Turks will select for their capital in the event of Constanti- 
nople falUng, I investigated personally the manner in which 
these orders were carried out J. From eye-witnesses in other 
towns from the interior I found that the execution of them was 
everywhere identical. At midnight, the police authorities swooped 
down on the homes of all Armenians whose names had been put 
on the proscribed Hst sent out from Constantinople. The men 
were at once placed under arrest, and then the houses were 
searched for papers which might impHcate them either in the 
present revolutionary movement of the Armenians on the frontier 

* For full text see page 572. f See " Historical Summary," Chapter V. 
J Compaje Doc. 101. 

[1] 



Mr. HENRY WOOD'S DESPATCH, 



3 



or in plots against the Government which the Turks declare 
exist. In this search, carpets were torn from the floors, draperies 
stripped from the walls, and even the children turned out of their 
beds and cradles in order that the mattresses and coverings 
might be searched. 

Following this search, the men were then carried away, and 
at once there began the carrpng out of the system of deportation 
and dispersion which has been the cruellest feature of the present 
anti- Armenian wave. The younger men for the most part were 
at once drafted into the Army. On the authority of men whose 
names would be known in both America and Europe if I dared 
mention them, I am told that hundreds if not thousands of these 
were sent at once to the front ranks at the Dardanelles, where 
death in a very short space of time is almost a certainty. The 
older men were then deported into the interior, while the women 
and children, when not carried off in an opposite direction, were 
left to shift for themselves as best they could. The terrible 
feature of this deportation up to date is that it has been carried 
out on such a basis as to render it practically impossible in 
thousands of cases that these famihes can ever again be reunited. 
Not only wives and husbands, brothers and sisters, but even 
mothers and their Httle children have been dispersed in such a 
manner as to preclude practically all hope that they will ever 
see each other again. 

In defence of these terrible measures which have been taken, 
the Turks at Constantinople declare that no one but the Ar- 
menians themselves is to blame. They state that when the 
present attack began on the Dardanelles, the Armenians were 
notified that if they took advantage of the moment when the 
Turks were concentrating every energy for the maintenance of 
the Empire, to rise in rebellion, they would be dealt with without 
quarter. This warning, however, the Armenians failed to heed. 
They not only rose in rebellion, occupying a number of important 
towns, including Van, but extended important help to the Russians 
in the latter' s campaign in the Caucasus.* 

While this is the Turkish side of the situation, there is also 
another side which I shall give on the authority of men who 
have passed practically their entire Uves in Turkey and whose 
names, if I dared mention them, would be recognised in both 
Europe and America as competent authority.' According to 
these men, the decision has gone out from the Young Turk party 
that the Armenian population of Turkey must be set back fifty 
years. This has been decided upon as necessary in order to 
ensure the supremacy of the Turkish race in the Ottoman Empire, 
which is one of the basic principles of the Young Turk party. 
The situation, I am told, is absolutely analogous to that which 
preceded the Armenian massacres under Abd-ul-Hamid. So far, 
* however, the Young Turks have confined themselves to the new 
system of deportation, dispersion and separation of families. 
* For the real facts see Section II. 
[1] 



4 11th JUNE, 1915, WELL-INFORMED NEUTRAL SOURCE. 



2. DESPATCH, DATED 11th JUNE, 1915, FROM AN ESPECIALLY 
WELL INFORMED NEUTRAL SOURCE AT CONSTANTINOPLE ; 
COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR 
ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF. 

A week before anything was done to Baibourt, the villages 
a11 round had been emptied of their Armenian inhabitants. The 
forced exodus from Baibourt took place on the 1st June*. All 
the villages, as well as three-fourths of the town, had already 
been evacuated. The third convoy included from 4,000 to 5,000 
people. Within six or seven days from the start, all males down 
to below fifteen years of age had been murdered. 

Persecutions, accompanied by horrible torture, have taken 
place in the Armenian village of Baghtchedjik or Bardizag 
(2,000 families), in Ovadjik (600 families), in Arslanbeg (600 
families), in Dongol (65 families), in Sabandja (1,000 families), 
in Ismid, etc. The inhabitants of Kurt-Belene (6,000 to 7,000 
families) have been expelled. ' 

In Arabkir the Armenian population has been converted to 
Islam, after^2,000 males had been killed. 



See Doc. 59. 



8th JULY, 1915, LETTER FROM ARABKIR. 



S 



3. EXTRACT FROM A LETTER*, DATED ARABKIR, 25th JUNE/ 
8th JULY, 1915, COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN 
COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF. 

The Armenian population has been converted to Islam ; it 
was a means of escaping from the forced migration. Orthodox 
Turks are given the wives of absent husbands or their daughters. 
We have been told that, according to an order from the Padishah, 
everybody must embracejlslamf. 



• Name of author withheld. f See Doc. 82» page 324. 

[3] 



6 



28th JUNE. 1915* 



4. LETTER FROM AN AUTHORITATIVE SOURCE, DATED CON- 
STANTINOPLE, 15th 28th JUNE, 1915 ; PUBLISHED IN THE NEW 
YORK JOURNAL " GOTCHNAG," 28th AUGUST, 1915. 

In America you have probably not yet heard of the terrible 
crisis through which the Armenians of Turkey are passing at this 
moment. The severe censorship to which all communications 
between Constantinople and the provinces are subjected, and the 
absolute embargo on travelling under which the Armenians have 
been placed, have resulted in depriving us, even in Constantinople, 
of all but the scantiest information regarding the' whole provincial 
area. And yet what we know already is sufficient to give you 
some idea. 

In every part of Turkey the Armenian population is in a more 
or less serious pUght, in suspense between life and death. Apart 
from the distress produced by the illegal requisitions, the paralysis 
of industry, the ravages of the typhus, and the mobilisation of 
the men — first of those from 20 to 45, and then of those from 
18 to 50 years of age — -thousands of Armenians have been suffering 
during the last two months in prison or in exile. 

At the beginning of the month of April, immediately after 
the events at Van, the Government issued an order requisitioning 
Armenian houses, schools, and episcopal residences, even in the 
most obscure corners of the provinces, and making the possession 
of arms, which were allowed until now, or of books and images, 
which were freely sold in public, a pretext for imprisonments and 
convictions. The effect of this order has been such that in the 
prisons of Kaisaria alone there are, at the present moment, more 
than 500 Armenians in custody, without reckoning those who, 
by a mere administrative act and without any charge being 
brought against them, have been deported into districts inhabited 
entirely by Mohammedans. 

However, even this state of things is mild enough in comparison 
with the condition of affairs in CiUcia and the provinces bordering 
on the Caucasus. The Turkish Government is now putting into 
execution its plan of dispersing the Armenian population of the 
Armenian provinces, taking advantage of the preoccupation of 
all the European Powers, and of the indifference of Germany and 
Austria. They began to execute this plan about four months 
ago, starting with Cilicia*, where the entire Armenian population 
of Zeitoun, Dort Yol and the neighbourhood, and a considerable 
part of the population of Marash and Hassan-Beyli, have been 
removed from their homes by brute force and without warning. 

Some of the exiles, about 1,000 families, have been sent to 
the Sultania district of the Vilayet of Koniaf. The majority, how- 
ever, have been dispersed among the villages of the province of 
Zor, beyond Aleppo, and through the districts in the immediate 
neighbourhood of Aleppo itself — Moumbidj, Bab, Ma'ara, Idhb, 
etc. This compulsory emigration is still in progress. The same 



* See Section XV. f See Docs. 123 and 125. 

[4] 



AUTHORITATIVE SOURCE AT CONSTANTINOPLE 



7 



fate is in prospect for Adana, Mersina, Hadjin, Sis, etc. As can 
be seen from the despatches and letters which arrive from these 
districts, all these people are being deported without the possibihty 
of taking anything with them, and this into districts with a 
cUmate to which they are absolutely unaccustomed. There, 
without shelter, naked and famished, they are abandoned to 
their fate, and have to subsist on the morsel of bread which the 
Government sees good to throw to them, a Government which is 
incapable of providing even its own troops with bread. 

The least details of this compulsory emigration that reach 
us at Constantinople, reduce one to tears at their recital. Among 
those 1,000 famiUes deported to Sultania there are less than 
fifty men. The majority made the journey on foot ; the old people 
and the young children died by the wayside, and young women 
with child miscarried and were abandoned on the mountains. 
Even now that they have reached their place of exile, these 
deported Armenians pay a toll of about ten victims a day in deaths 
from sickness and famine. At Aleppo they need at present 
£35 (Turkish) a day to provide the exiles with broad. You can 
imagine what their situation must be in the deserts, where the 
native Arabs themselves are near starvation. 

A sum of money has been sent from Constantinople to the 
Kathohkos of CiHcia, who is at the present moment at Aleppo, 
witnessing the misery and agony of his flock. At Aleppo, at any 
rate, the authorities permit the distribution of rehef to these 
unfortunate people ; at Sultania, on the other hand, it has so far 
been impossible to bring any rehef within their reach, because 
the Government refuses permission, in spite of the efforts of the 
American Embassy. 

The same state of affairs now prevails at Erzeroum, BitUs, 
Sairt, etc. According to absolutely trustworthy information 
which we have received, they have begun, during the last two or 
three weeks, to deport the Armenians of Erzeroum and the 
neighbourhood towards Derdjan ; the rest have been given 
several days' grace. From Biths and Sairt we have just had 
despatches forwarded to us, imploring rehef. From Moush we 
have no news, but the same state of affairs must certainly prevail 
there also*. At Khnyssf there has been a massacre, but we do not 
yet know how serious it was. In the neighbourhood of Sivas 
several villages, Govdoun among others, have been burnt. . . . 



* See Section III. 

[4] 



t See Doc. 53. 



D 



8 



25th and 26th JULY, 1915. 



5. LETTER FROM THE SAME SOURCE, DATED CONSTANTINOPLE, 
12 /25th JULY, 1915 ; PUBLISHED IN THE NEW YORK JOURNAL 
" GOTCHNAG," 28th AUGUST, 1915. 

Since my last letter, our nation's* position has unhappily 
become more serious, inasmuch as it is now not merely the 
Armenians of Cihcia who have been deported, but the Armenians 
of all the native Armenian provinces. From Samsoun and 
Kaisaria on the one hand to Edessa on the other, about a miUion 
and a half people are at this moment on their way to the deserts 
of Mesopotamia, to be planted in the midst of Arab and Kurdish 
populations. These people cannot take with them anything but 
the barest necessities, because of the impossibihty of transport 
and the insecurity of the roads ; so that very few of them indeed 
wiU succeed in reaching the spot marked out for their exile, 
while, if immediate relief is not sent them, they ^^dll die of 
hunger. . . . 



16 



AUTHORITATIVE SOURCE AT CONSTANTINOPLE. 



9 



6. LETTER FROM THE SAME SOURCE, DATED CONSTANTINOPLE, 
13 /26th JULY, 1915, AND ADDRESSED TO A DISTINGUISHED 
ARMENIAN RESIDENT BEYOND THE OTTOMAN FRONTIER. 

Since the 25th May last, events have followed hard upon one 
another, and the misery of our nation is now at its zenith. 

Apart from a few rumours about the situation of the Armenians 
at Erzeroum, we had heard of nothing, till recently, except the 
deportation of the inhabitants of several towns and villages in 
Cilicia. Now we know from an unimpeachable source that the 
Armenians of all the towns and all the villages of Cilicia have 
been deported en masse to the desert regions south of Aleppo. 

From the 1st May onwards, the population of the city of 
Erzeroum, and shortly afterwards the population of the whole 
province, was collected at Samsoun and embarked on ship- 
board. The populations of Kaisaria, Diyarbekir, Ourfa, Trebi- 
zond, Sivas, Harpout and the district of Van have been deported 
to the deserts of Mesopotamia, from the southern outskirts of 
Aleppo as far as Mosul and Baghdad. " Armenia without the 
Armenians " — that is the Ottoman Government's project. The 
Moslems are already being allowed to take possession of the lands 
and houses abandoned by the Armenians. 

The exiles are forbidden to take anything with them. For 
that matter, in the districts under military occupation there is 
nothing left to take, as the military authorities have exerted 
themselves to carry off, for their own use, everything that they 
could lay hands on. 

The exiles wiU have to traverse on foot a distance that involves 
one or two months' marching and sometimes even more, before 
they reach the particular corner of the desert assigned to them 
for their habitation, and destined to become their tomb. We 
hear, in fact, that the course of their route and the stream of the 
Euphrates are littered with the corpses of exiles, while those who 
survive are doomed to certain death, since they will find in the 
desert neither house, nor work, nor food. 

It is simply a scheme for exterminating the Armenian nation 
wholesale, without any fuss. It is just another form of massacre, 
and a more horrible form. 

Remember that all the men between the ages of 20 and 46 are 
at the front. Those between 45 and 60 are working for the 
military transport service. As for those who had paid the 
statutory tax for exemption from mihtary service, they have 
either been exiled or imprisoned on one pretext or another. The 
result is that there is no one left to deport but the old men, the 
women and the children. These poor creatures have to travel 
through regions which, even in times of peace, were reputed 
dangerous, and where there was a serious risk of being robbed. 
Now that the Turkish brigands, as weU as the gendarmes and civil 



[6] 



10 



26th JULY. 1915. 



officials, enjoy the most absolute licence, the exiles will inevitably 
be robbed on the road, and their women and girls dishonoured and 
abducted. 

We are hearing also from various places of conversions to 
Islam. It seems that the people have no other alternative for 
saving their hves. 

The courts martial are working everywhere at full pressure. 

You must have heard through the newspapers of the hanging 
of 20 Huntchakists at Constantinople. The verdict given 
against them is not based on any of the estabhshed laws of the 
Empire. The same day twelve Armenians were hanged at 
Kaisaria, on the charge of having obeyed instructions received 
from the secret conference held at Bukarest by the Huntchakists 
and Droshakists. Besides these hangings, 32 persons have been 
sentenced at Kaisaria to terms of hard labour, ranging from ten 
to fifteen years. Most of them are honest merchants who are 
in no sort of relation with the political parties. Twelve Armenians 
have also been hanged in Cihcia. Condemnations have become 
dail}^ occurrences. The discovery of arms, books and pictures 
is enough to condemn an Armenian to several years' imprisonment. 

Besides this many people have succumbed under the rod. 
Thirteen Armenians have been kiUed in this way at Diyarbekir, 
and six at Kaisaria. Thirteen others have been killed on their 
way to Shabin Kara-Hissar and Sivas. The priests of the viUage 
of Kourk with their companions have suffered the same fate on 
the road between Sou-Shehr and Sivas, although they had their 
hands pinioned and w^ere defenceless. 

I will spare you the recital of other outrages which have 
occurred sporadically aU over the country, under the cloak of 
searches for arms and for revolutionary agents. Not a single 
house has been left unsearched, not even the episcopal residences, 
the churches or the schools. Hundreds of women, girls, and even 
quite young children are groaning in prison. Churches and con- 
vents have been piUaged, desecrated and destroyed. Even the 
Bishops are not spared. Mgr. Barkev Danielian (Bishop of 
Broussa), Mgr. Kevork Tourian (Bishop of Trebizond), Mgr. 
Khosrov Behrikian (Bishop of Kaisaria), Mgr. Vaghinadj 
Torikian (Bishop of Shabin Kara-Hissar), and Mgr. Kevork 
Nalbandian (Bishop of Tchar-Sandjak) have been arrested and 
handed over to the courts martial. Father Muggerditch, locum- 
tenens of the Bishop of Diyarbekir, has died of blows received in 
prison. We have no news of the other bishops, but I imagine 
that the greater part of them are in prison. 

We are so cut off from the world that we might be in a fortress. 
We have no means of correspondence, neither post nor telegraph. 

The villages in the neighbourhood of Van and Bitlis have been 
plundered, and their inhabitants put to the sword. At the 
beginning of this month, there was a pitiless massacre of all the 
inhabitants of Kara-Hissar with the exception of a few children 

[63 



AUTHORITATIVE SOURCE AT CONSTANTINOPLE. 



11 



who are said to have escaped by a miracle. Unhappily we learn 
the details of all these occurrences too late, and even then only 
with the utmost difficulty. 

So you see that the Armenians in Turkey have only a few more 
days to live, and if the Armenians abroad do not succeed in 
enlisting the sympathy of the neutrals on our behalf, there will 
be extraordinarily few Armenians left a few months hence, 
out of the million and a half that there were in Turkey before the 
war. The annihilation of the Armenian nation will then be 
inevitable. 



12 



15th AUGUST, 1915. 



7. LETTER FROM THE SAME SOURCE, DATED CONSTANTINOPLE, 
2 15th AUGUST, 1915, AND ADDRESSED TO THE SAME ARMENIAN 
RESIDENT BEYOND THE OTTOMAN FRONTIER. 

Since I wrote my last letter (of which you have acknowledged 
the receipt), we have been able to obtain more precise information 
from the provinces of the interior. The information with which 
we present you herewith is derived from the following witnesses : 
an Armenian lady forcibly converted to Islam, and brought 
by an unforeseen chance to Constantinople ; a girl from Zila, 
between nine and ten years old, who was abducted by a Turkish 
officer and has reached Constantinople ; a Turkish traveller 
from Harpout ; foreign travellers from Erzindjan, and so on. 
In fine, this information is derived either from ej^e-witnesses 
or from actual victims of the crimes. 

It is now estabhshed that there is not an Armenian left in 
the provinces of Erzeroum, Trebizond, Sivas, Harpout, BitUs 
and Diyarbekir. About a milhon of the Armenian inhabitants 
of these provinces have been deported from their homes and 
sent southwards into exile. These deportations have been carried 
out very systematically by the local authorities since the beginning 
of April last. First of all, in every village and every town, the 
population was disarmed by the gendarmerie, and by criminals 
released for this purpose from prison. On the pretext of dis- 
arming the Armenians, these criminals committed assassinations 
and inflicted hideous tortures. Next, they imprisoned the 
Armenians en masse, on the pretext that they had found in their 
possession arms, books, a pohtical organisation, and so on — at a 
pinch, wealth or any kind of social standing was pretext enough. 
After that, they began the deportation. And first, on the 
pretext of sending them into exile, they evicted such men 
as had not been imprisoned, or such as had been set at hberty 
through lack of any charge against them ; then they massacred 
them — not one of these escaped slaughter. Before they started, 
they were examined officially by the authorities, and any money 
or valuables in their possession were confiscated. They were 
usually shackled — either separately, or in gangs of five to ten. 
The remainder — old men, women, and children — were treated 
as waifs in the province of Harpout, and placed at the disposal 
of the Moslem population. The highest official, as weU as the 
most simple peasant, chose out the woman or girl who caught 
his fancy, and took her to wife, converting her by force to Islam. 
As for the children, the Moslems took as many of them as they 
wanted, and then the remnant of the Armenians were marched 
away, famished and destitute of provisions, to fall victims to 
hunger, unless that were anticipatediby the savagery of the brigand- 
bands. In the province of Diyarbekir there was an outright 
massacre, especially at Mardin, and the population was subjected 
to all the afore-mentioned atrocities. 



[7] 



AUTHORITATIVE SOURCE AT CONSTANTINOPLE. 



13 



In the provinces of Erzeroum, Bitlis, Sivas and Diyarbeklr, 
the local authorities gave certain facilities to the Armenians 
condemned to deportation : five to ten days' grace, authorisation 
to effect a partial sale of their goods, and permission to hire a 
cart, in the case of some famiUes. But after the first few days 
of their journey, the carters abandoned them on the road and 
returned home. These convoys were waylaid the day after the 
start, or sometimes several days after, by bands of brigands 
or by Moslem peasants who spoiled them of all they had. The 
brigands fraternised with the gendarmes and slaughtered the few 
grown men or youths who were included in the convoys. Thoy 
carried off the women, girls and children, leaving only the old 
women, who were driven along by the gendarmes under blows of 
the lash and died of hunger by the roadside. An eye-witness 
reports to us that the women deported from the province of 
Erzeroum were abandoned, some days ago, on the plain of 
Harpout, where they have all died of hunger (50 or 60 a day). 

The only step taken by the authorities was to send people to bury 
them, in order to safeguard the health of the Moslem population. 

The httle girl from Zila tells us that when the Armenians of 
Marsovan, Amasia and Tokat reached Sari-Kishila (between 
Kaisaria and Sivas), the children of both sexes were torn from 
their mothers before the very windows of the Government Build- 
ing, and were locked up in certain other buildings, while the 
convoy was forced to continue its march. After that, they gave 
notice in the neighbouring villages that anyone might come and 
take his choice. She and her companion (Newart of Amasia) 
were carried off and brought to Constantinople by a Turkish 
officer. The convoys of women and children were placed on 
view in front of the Government Building at each town or 
village where they passed, to give the Moslems an opportunity of 
taking their choice. 

The convoy which started from Baibourt was thinned out in 
this way, and the women and children who survived were thrown 
into the Euphrates on the outskirts of Erzindjan, at a place 
called Kamakh-Boghazi.* Mademoiselle Flora A. Wedel Yarles- 
berg, a Norwegian lady of good family who was a nurse in a 
German Red Cross hospital, and another nurse who was her 
colleague, were so revolted by these barbarities and by other 
experiences of equal horror, that they tendered their resignations, 
returned to Constantinople, and called personally at several 
Embassies to denounce these hideous crimes. 

The same barbarities have been committed everywhere, and 
by this time travellers find nothing but thousands of Armenian 
corpses along all the roads in these provinces. A Moslem traveller 
on his way from Malatia to Sivas, a nine hours' journey, passed 
nothing but corpses of men and women. All the male Armenians 
of Malatia had been taken there and massacred ; the women and 

* See Doc9. 59, 60, 61, 62. The witnesses at Erzindjan were not 
Norwegians but Danes — Editor. 

[7] 



14 



15th AUGUST, 1916- 



children have all been converted to Islam. No Armenian can 
travel in these parts, for every Moslem, and especially the brigands 
and gendarmes, considers it his duty now to kill them at sight. 
Recently Messieurs Zohrab and Vartkes, two Armenian members 
of the Ottoman Parliament, who had been sent off to Diyarbekir 
to be tried by the Council of War, were killed, before they got 
there, at a short distance from Aleppo. In these provinces one 
can only travel incognito under a Moslem name. As for the 
women's fate, we have already spoken of it above, and it seems 
unnecessary to go into further particulars about their honour, 
when one sees the utter disregard there is for their life. 

The Armenian soldiers, too, have suffered the same fate. 
They were also all disarmed and put to constructing roads.* We 
have certain knowledge that the Armenian soldiers of the province 
of Erzeroum, who were at work on the road from Erzeroum to 
Erzindjan, have all been massacred. The Armenian soldiers of 
the province of Diyarbekir have all been massacred on the Diyar- 
bekir-Ourfa road, and the Diyarbekir-Harpout road. From 
Harpout alone, 1,800 young Armenians were enrolled and sent 
off to w^ork at Diyarbekir ; all were massacred in the neighbour- 
hood of Arghana. We have no news from the other districts, 
but they have assuredly sufiPered the same fate there also. 

In certain towns, the Armenians who had been consigned to 
oblivion in the prisons have been hanged in batches. During 
the past month alone, several dozen Armenians have been hanged 
in Kaisaria. In many places the Armenian inhabitants, to save 
their lives, have tried to become Mohammedans, but this time 
such overtures have not been readily accepted, as they were at 
the time of the other great massacres. At Sivas, the would-be 
converts to Islam were offered the following terms : they must 
hand over all children under twelve years of age to the Govern- 
ment, which would undertake to place them in orphanages ; and 
they must consent, for their own part, to leave their homes and 
settle wherever the Government directed. 

At Harpout, they would not accept the conversion of the 
men ; in the case of the women, they made their conversion con- 
ditional in each instance upon the presence of a Moslem willing 
to take the convert in marriage. Many Armenian women pre- 
ferred to throw themselves into the Euphrates with their infants, 
or committed suicide in their homes. The Euphrates and Tigris 
have become the sepulchre of thousands of Armenians. 

All Armenians converted in the Black Sea towns— Trebizond, 
Samsoun, Kerasond, etc. — have been sent to the interior, and 
settled in towns inhabited exclusively by Moslems. The town 
of Shabin-Karahissar resisted the disarming and deportation, 
and was thereupon bombarded. The whole population of the 
town and the surrounding country, from the Bishop downwards, 
was pitilessly massacred. 



* See Docs. 23 and 62, 



AUTHORITATIVE SOURCE AT CONSTANTINOPLE. 



15 



In short, from Samsoun on the one hand to Seghert* and 
Diyarbekir on the other, there is now not a single Armenian 
left. The majority have been massacred, part have been carried 
off, and a very small part have been converted to Islam. 

History has never recorded, never hinted at, such a hecatomb. 
We are driven to believe that under the reign of Sultan Abd-ul- 
Hamid we were exceedingly fortunate. 

We have just learnedthefateof some of the provincial bishops. 
Mgr. Anania Hazarabedian, Bishop of Baibourt, has been hanged 
without any confirmation of the sentence by the Central Govern- 
mentt. Mgr. Bosak Der-Khoremian. Bishop of Harpout, started 
on his road to exile in May, and had barely left the outskirts of 
the town when he was cruelly murdered. But we have still no 
news of the Bishops of Seghert, Bitlis, Moush, Keghi, Palou, 
Erzindjan, Kamakh, Tokat, Gurin, Samsoun and Trebizond, or for 
a month past of the Bishops of Si^as and Erzeroum. It is super- 
fluous to speak of the martyred priests When the people were 
deported, the churches were pillaged and turned into mosques, 
stables, or what not. Besides that, they have begun to sell at 
Constantinople the sacred objects and other properties of the 
Armenian churches, just as the Turks have begun to bring to 
Constantinople the children of the unhappy Armenian mothers. 

It appears that the massacres have been less cruel in Cilicia, 
or at least we have no news yet of the worst. The population, 
which has been deported to the provinces of Aleppo and Der-el- 
Zor and to Damascus, will certainly perish of hunger. We have 
just heard that the Government has refused to leave in peace 
even the insignificant Armenian colonies at Aleppo and Ourfa, 
who might have assisted their unhappy brethren on their south- 
ward road ; and the Katholikos of Cilicia, who still remains at 
Aleppo, is busy distributing the relief we are forwarding to him. 

We thought at first that the Government's plan was to settle 
the Armenian question once and for all by clearing out the 
Armenians of the six Armenian provinces and removing the 
Armenian population of Cilicia, to forestall another danger in the 
future. Unhappily their plan was wider in scope and more 
thorough in intention. It consisted in the extermination of the 
whole Armenian population throughout the whole of Turkey. 
The result is that, in those seven provinces where the Government 
was pledged to introduce reforms, there is not one per cent, of 
the Armenian population left alive. So far, we do not know 
whether a single Armenian has reached Mosul or its neighbour- 
hood. And this plan has now been put' into execution even in 
the suburbs of Constantinople. The majority of the Armenians 
in the district of Ismid and in the province of Broussa have been 
forcibly deported to Mesopotamia, leaving behind them their 
homes and their property. In detail, the population of Adapazar, 
Ismid, Gegve, Armaaha and the neighbourhood has been removed — 



♦ Sairt (?) 



t See Doc. 59. 



16 



15th August, 1915, Authoritative Source at Constantinople. 



in fact, the population of all the villages in the Ismid district 
(except Baghtchedjik, which has been granted several days' grace). 
The Principal of the Seminary at Armasha has also been removed 
with his colleagues in orders and his seminarists*. They have had 
to leave everything behind, and been able to take nothing with 
them on their journey. Six weeping mothers confided their little 
ones to the Armenians of Konia, in order to save their hves, but 
the local authorities tore them away from their Armenian 
guardians, and handed them over to Moslems. 

So now it is Constantinople's turn. In any case, the popula- 
tion has fallen into a panic, and is waiting from one moment 
to another for the execution of its doom. The arrests are 
innumerable, and those arrested are immediately removed from 
the capital. The majority will assuredly perish. It is the 
retail merchants of provincial birth, but resident in Constantinople, 
who are so far being deported — among them Marouke, Ipranossian 
Garabed, Kherbekian of Erzeroum, Atamian Karekin, Krikorian 
Sempad of Biths, etc. We are making great efforts to save 
at any rate the Armenians of Constantinople from this horrible 
extermination of the race, in order that, hereafter, we may have 
at least one rallying point for the Armenian cause in Turkey. 

Is there anything further to add to this report ? The whole 
Armenian population of Turkey has been condemned to death, 
and this decree is being put into execution energetically in every 
corner of the Empire, under the eyes of the European Powers ; 
while, so far, neither Germany nor Austria has succeeded in 
checking the action of their ally and removing the stain of these 
barbarities, which also attaches to them. All our efforts have 
been without result. Our hope is set upon the Armenians 
abroad. 



* See Doc. 99. 
[7] 



21st JULY, 1915. LETTER FROM ATHENS. 



17 



8. EXTRACTS FROM A LETTER, DATED ATHENS, 8th /21st JULY, 
1915, FROM AN ARMENIAN FORMERLY RESIDENT IN TURKEY 
TO A PROMINENT ARMENIAN IN WESTERN EUROPE. 

Events have been taking place in Turkey of which I imagine 
that you have no first-ha,nd or reliable information, on account 

of the strict censorship and scarcity of travellers And as 

I have been able to obtain reliable information, I have thought 
it my duty as an Armenian to submit it to your Excellency. 

Mr. A., who was a missionary teacher at the town of B. in 
Cilicia for four years, and with whom I am acquainted personally 
(and I have good reason to beheve in every word he says), arrived 
in this city only yesterday, coming from AE. in company with 
Miss B., the daughter of the Director of Mr. A.'s college, with 
whom I am also acquainted personally. 

They just began to inform me by saying that the condition 
of the Armenians in Cilicia was awful. The town of Dort Yol, 
after having been cleared of its Armenian population, has been 
peacefully occupied by Turkish families, and not by the miHtary 
authorities. The whole of the Armenian inhabitants have been 
sent away — turned out of their homes — and are naturally 
suffering from hunger. The exposure is something that cannot 
be described. Before evacuation, some nine leading merchants 
were hanged, on the accusation that they were in communication 
with the British fleet and were spying for the Allied Forces*. 

Zeitoun has met the same fate. There is not a single Armenian 
left in Zeitoun, and all the houses are occupied by Turkish people. 
My friends could not understand what exactly had happened to 
the Zeitounlis, but the fact is that special care has been taken by 
the Turkish authorities that too many of them should not be 
left together. Attempts have been made to make them Moham- 
medans, and it is known that the authorities attempted to 
distribute one, two, or three families to each Turkish village in 
the district of Mar ash. 

They have attempted to do the same thing to Hadjin, but, 
somehow or other, only half the inhabitants have left, whose 
homes have naturally been occupied by the Turks. 

The Turks of Tarsus and Adana are showing the same dis- 
position as they did before the massacres of 1909. 

Missionaries from Beirout state that the same persecution is 
being carried out against Christian Syrians. 

Br. C, for many years a missionary in Smyrna, and latterly 
in AD., was exiled to Angora. He states that there were thirty 
Armenians exiled with him from AD. on the simple charge that 
they had either themselves been Huntchakists or had friends 
belonging to the said Party. Extortion of money, robbery and 
insults are usual, and conditions in general are worse than at 
any period in the time of Hamid. Dr. C. has been' in Turkey 
for 35 years and knows Turkish. 

* See Doc. 123. 
[8] 



18 



21st JULY, 1915. 



At Kaisaria they hanged eight Armenians. About the same 
time they hanged twenty-six at Constantinople, and this im- 
mediately after the note of the Powers threatening to hold Turkish 
officials responsible for massacres of Armenians. Imprisonment 
and exile are common things, and the Reverend Missionary 
finished by saying that I ought to be glad I was out of it." 

Dr. C, coming from Constantinople, gave me the further 
information that massacres had been going on round BitHs for 
some time. And then, from correspondents at Bitlis, his in- 
formants had had new^s that whole villages were embracing 
Mohammedanism in order to escape tortures, because the object 
of the massacres was not simply to kill, but to torture. 

A resident at Mardin had telegraphed by code to Constanti- 
nople informing his correspondent there that the same conditions 
existed at Mardin as during 1895. 

The American Ambassador at Constantinople, after asking 
the Turkish Government to stop the massacres, went to the 
German Ambassador. But Herr Wangenheim said he could not 
interfere in any way with Turkej^'s internal affairs ! ! ! 

All these informants do not hide their belief, based on what 
they have actually seen, that German poUcy is at the back of the 
movement for a clean Mohammedan " Turkey for the Turks." 

I will give your Excellency another coincident piece of 
evidence. In May, 1914, I travelled with Dr. Niazim Bey, 
who is the spirit of the Union and Progress Party, when he 
was on the mission of estabhshing a boycott — nominally against 
the Greeks only, though it proved to be against the Armenians 
as weU. The Doctor said that the work of the Turkish Govern- 
ment was very compUcated, and he laid all the fault of it on the 
ancestors of the modern Turks, who, in spite of their being 
victorious and defying all Europe, nay all the world, had not 
been far-sighted enough to cleanse aU the country they ruled 
of the Christian element, but had yielded to their chivalrous 
feelings and allowed the Christians to live. Had they done this 
bit of cleaning up at a time when nobody could protest, there 
would have been an easy task now for the heads of the Govern- 
ment in governing, and so on. 

The Russian retreat has intoxicated the Turks. They 
think they have their chance now, and evidence shows that 
their almighty aUy Germany encourages them in their effort 
at house cleaning. The note of the Alhed Powers'^is no deter- 
rent, even if the Turkish officials were not sure of final victory, 
because they feel that, if they lose, Turkey is not the place to 
offer them a happy shelter, and, with the money they are making 
now, the officials responsible can hide themselves in a country 
where they cannot be found or cannot be extradited. And^some 
of the 'bolder spirits, Uke Talaat and Enver, have openly said 
that they do not expect to live if defeated, even without the threat 
of the AUiea to bring them to account. 

[SI 



LETTER FROM ATHENS. 



19 



The Armenians in Turkey have not been able to conceal'their 
feelings, and when I myself was in Constantinople, prudent 
man though I am, I was unable to conceal my feelings myself, 
or at least so effectively as not to be perceived by the Turks. 

As early as September last, the Turkish comic paper Karagoz 
had written one day that " If the Armenians were cheerful, there 
was certainly news of victory for the Alhes ; if not, it had been 
the reverse." But if, in spite of the Armenians conceahng their 
feelings, the Turks had definitely adopted the policy — as no doubt 
they had — of exterminating the Christians in Turkey, then we 
have at least the satisfaction that we have hurt them with the 
display of what we felt. 

I beheve that the Germans did not want to exterminate the 
Armenians unless the latter proved of mihtary danger in the 
present game ; but I imagine the Armenians have incurred the 
Germans' displeasure in this regard. 

That Germany, or the Germans in Turkey, are for the above 
reason encouraging the Turks in their attempt at extermination, 
is proved by the fact that wholesale massacres and deportations 
have been specific to regions of which the inhabitants 
might be of especial help to an invading army. For instance, 
Dort Yol and Zeitoun would be of excellent help had the Allies 
made a landing at Pay as. Bitlis is next door to Van ; the Russian 
army is getting towards BitHs, and naturally the Armenians of 
Bitlis would be of great value to them, as indeed the Armenians 
of Van have been already. 

Take the case of Erzeroum, again a frontier town, which, 
besides individual hangings, has been the scene of wholesale 
massacres ; while towns far away from the theatre of war, such as 
Angora, Broussa, Konia, Constantinople, etc., although not 
exempted from persecution, have still not been subjected to 
wholesale massacres and deportations. 



[8] 



20 



16ih AUGUST, 1915. 



9. LETTER, DATED 3rd 16th AUGUST, 1915, CONVEYED BEYOND 
THE OTTOMAN FRONTIER BY AN ARMENIAN REFUGEE FROM 
CILICIA IN THE SOLE OF HER SHOE*. 

In haste and in secret I seize this opportunity of bringing to 
your ears the cry of agony which goes out from the survivors of 
the terrible crisis through which we are passing at this moment. 
They are exterminating our nation, mowing it doAMi. Perhaps 
this will be the last cry from Ai'menia that you Vsi\\ hear ; we 
have no longer any fear of death, we see it close at hand, this 
death of the whole people. We are waifs who cry for the lives 
of our brothers. These hnes cannot describe our misery ; it 
would need volumes of reports to do justice to that. 

(1.) At the present moment there are at more than 

10,000 deported widows and childi-en (among the latter one sees 
no boys above eleven years of age). They had been on the road 
for from three to live months ; they have been plundered several 
times over, and have marched along naked and starving ; the 
Government gave them on one single occasion a morsel of 
bread — a few have had it twice. It is said that the number of 
these deported ^vidows will reach 60,000 ; they are so exhausted 
that they cannot stand upright ; the majority have great sores 
on their feet, through having had to march barefoot. 

(2). An enquiry has proved that, out of 1,000 people who 

started, scarcely 400 reached . Out of the 600 to be accounted 

for, 380 men and boys above eleven years of age, and 85 women, 
had been massacred or drowned, out of sight of the towns, by 
the gendarmes who conducted them ; 120 young women and girls 
and 40 boj'S had been carried off, with the result that one does 
not see a single pretty face among the survivors. 

(3.) Out of these survivors, 60 per cent, are sick ; they are 

to be sent in the immediate future to , where certain death 

awaits them ; one cannot describe the ferocious treatment to 
which they are exposed ; they had been on the road for from three 
to five months ; they had been plundered two, three, five, seven 
times ; their underclothes even had been ransacked ; so far from 
being given ami:hiQg to eat, they had even been prevented from 
drinking while they were passing a stream. Three-quarters 
of the young women and girls were abducted ; the remainder 
were forced to He with the gendarmes who conducted them. 
Thousands died under these outrages, and the survivors have 
stories to tell of refinements of outrage so disgusting that they 
pollute one's ears. 

(4.) The massacres have been most violent in the eastern 
provinces, and the population has been deported wholesale 
towards the Hauran Desert, Gereg and Mosul, where the victims 
are doomed to a death from natural causes more infallible than 
massacre. When one remembers that these people were leading 
a comfortable European life, one is forced to conclude that 

♦The author of the letter has been identified by an Armenian resident 
abroad who recognised his hand-writing. — Editor. 

[9] 



LETTER FROM CILICIA. 



21 



they will never be able to survive in an alien and inhospitable 
climate, even if the knife and the bullet do not previously do 
their work. 

My friends, I have not time to tell you more ; one may say 
with truth that not a single Armenian is left in Armenia ; soon 
there wiQ be none left in Cilicia either. The Armenian, robbed of 
his hfe, his goods, his honour, conveys to you his last cry for 
help — help to save the lives of the survivors ! Money to buy 
them bread ! There is a rumour here that the Government will 
allow the women and the children under seventeen years of age to 
leave the country. How are they to do it ? Where are they to 
go ? What ship is to take them ? Who will provide the funds ? 
From moment to moment we are waiting for reUef, to stave off 
the death of the Nation. Be quick, never mind how ; send us 
money, we have no means of communication ! 

Send, through the agency of the American Government, 
money, money, money ; the bearer of this letter deserves every 
reward ; she will tell you all the details. Zohrab, Vartkes Dagha- 
varian and their five companions have been murdered by the 
gendarmes at Sheitan-Dere, between Ourfa and Diyarbekir, where 
thousands of headless corpses make the passers-by shudder ; 
the Euphrates bears down its stream thousands of corpses of 
men and women ; photographs of this have been taken by Euro- 
peans. Fifteen thousand ZeitounUs have been deported to Der- 
el-Zor, where they are suffering the worst atrocities. Thousands 
of babies at the breast have been thrown into rivers or abandoned 
by the wayside by their mothers. The urgent need is money ! 
Make that clear to the Armenian colony ia America. Money ! 
Money ! 

One thousand six hundred Armenians have had their throats 
cut in the prisons at Diyarbekir. The Arashnort was mutilated, 
drenched with alcohol, and burnt ahve in the prison yard, in the 
middle of a carousing crowd of gendarmes, who even accompanied 
the scene with music. The massacres at Beniani, Adiaman and 
Selefka have been carried out diaboUcally ; there is not a single 
man left above the age of thirteen years ; the girls' have been 
outraged mercilessly ; we have seen their mutilated corpses tied 
together in batches of four, eight or ten, and cast into the 
Euphrates. The majority had been mutilated in an iudescribable 
manner. 

The above facts have been gathered from official sources and 
eye-witnesses. 

The American Consul is able to arrange for the despatch of 
funds. We are unable to realise any of our property, either 
national or private, because it has all been confiscated by the 
Government. The Government has even confiscated the con- 
vents, the churches and the schools. Black famine reigns in this 
town ; we have 15,000 deported Armenians here, who are being sent 
on in batches to Arabia. The whole of Armenia is being cleared out. 

I sign this letter with my blood ! 

[9] 



22 27th AUGUST, 1915. LETTER FROM CONSTANTINOPLE 



10. LETTER FROM MR. N., A FOREIGN RESIDENT AT CON- 
STANTINOPLE, DATED 27th AUGUST, 1916 ; COMMUNICATED 
BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN 
RELIEF. 

The Armenians of Bardizag have generally speaking been 
deported. A promise secured by Mr. Morgenthau that Pro- 
testants should be exempted from deportation has kept the 
people at Nicomedia (Isnik) for nearty a week. They are camped 
in the open near the Railway Station, exposed to the weather 
and to the insults of the populace, apparently to be deported a 
few days later on. Whether we shall succeed in saving the 
Protestants remains to be seen. Deportation has taken place 
general^ throughout all the region contiguous to Nicomedia, 
Adapazar, Konia, Marsovan, Sivas, Harpout, Diyarbekir and to 
some parts of the American Central Mission. Many people 
have already lost their lives, and others, as for instance those in 
this city, have lost hope as to their final security. I shall 
enclose a few letters which will give an idea of the situation 
throughout the land. 

Prof. QQ.* has just arrived from X. He has been four weeks 
on the journey, having been delayed considerably at S. He 
states that the Armenians have left, having been deported from 
X, and the vicinity. Mr. Morgenthau endeavoured to save the 
Mission entourage at X. from deportation ; the promises securing 
this, however, were not fulfilled. Even the hundred girls and 
young women held in the College Compound could not be saved 
from this dreadful fate. To the bold stand made by the Mission 
people, on behalf of their pupils and teachers, the Kaimakam him- 
self opposed his personal authority, threatening to hang anyone 
who attempted to prevent the carrying out of his orders for the 
deportation of the people. These orders, here as elsewhere, 
seemed to respect neither age nor condition. . . . 

The movement against the Armenians has now well-nigh 
covered the entire country. Many prominent Armenians have 
lost their fives ; hardly a family has escaped experiencing to 
some extent the severity of this blow. It looks as if the patronage 
from this community for the American schools has been quite cut 
off. Teachers and pupils afike have been sent into exile, or have 
suffered death or have been carried off to Turkish communities 
or harems. There is an ugly rumour that the turn of the Greeks 
will come next. Should Greece move, this will probably be 
realised. . . . 



Author of Docs. 56 and 57. 
[10] 



28th OCTOBER, 1915. MEMORANDUM FROM BUKAREST. 



23 



11. MEMORANDUM DATED 15 /28th OCTOBER, 1915, FROM A WELL- 
INFORMED SOURCE AT BUKAREST, RELATING TO THE 
EXTERMINATION OF THE ARMENIANS IN TURKEY. 

1 . At Vezir Kopril (district of Marsovan) all Armenian women 
and girls from 7 to 40 years of age have been sold at auction. 
Women were also presented to the buyers without payment. 

2. At Kaisaria more than 500 Armenian famiHes were forced 
to embrace Islam. A father asked his son in Constantinople to 
follow his example, " in order to prevent worse consequences 
for his parents." 

3. All Armenian judicial officials in the provinces have been 
discharged. All Turkish officials who have shown special zeal 
in the extermination of the Armenians have been promoted. 
Thus Zeki Bey, Kaimakam of Develou (Kaisaria), the man who 
directed in person the terrible tortures of the Armenian prisoners 
and was responsible for the death of most of them, has been 
made mektoubdji of the Vilayet of Constantinople. 

4. The Young Turk Government has published, as an excuse 
or perhaps as a means of exciting greater hatred against the 
Armenians, a book entitled The Armenian Separatist Movement^ 
which is as ridiculous as it is criminal. The reader finds in it 
not only copies of entirely fictitious pubHcations, but actually 
pictures of enormous depots of arms and munitions purporting 
to be Armenian. 

5. In Konia, and everywhere else, the wives of the Armenian 
soldiers who have not been deported have been taken as servants 
or concubines into Turkish families. 

6. In Mar ash more than three hundred Armenians have been 
executed by Court Martial, besides the numerous victims 
murdered in the course of the deportations. At Panderma many 
important Armenians have been condemned to death by the 
Court Martial. The vicar Barkev Vartabed has been condemned 
to five years' penal servitude. The Archbishop of Erzeroum, 
His Grace Sempad, who, mth the VaU's authorisation, was 
returning to Constantinople, was murdered at Erzindjan by the 
brigands in the service of the Union and Progress Committee. 
The bishops of Trebizond, Kaisaria, Moush, Bitlis, Sairt, and 
Erzindjan have all been murdered by order of the Young Turk 
Government. According to reports from travellers, all the 
Armenian population of Trebizond has been massacred without 
exception. Almost the whole male population in Sivas, Erzeroum, 
Harpout, Bitlis, Baibourt, Khnyss, Diyarbekir, etc., has been 
exterminated. At Tchingiler, a small village in the district of 
Ismid, 300 men have been murdered because they did not obey 
the order to leave their houses. The people deported from 
Rodosto, Malgara and Tchorlu, who have been deprived of all 
their possessions in accordance with the new "temporary law '* 
of the 13/26th September, have been separated from their 
iamilies and sent on foot from Ismid to Konia on the arbitrary 

[111 



24 28th OCTOBER, 1915. MEMORANDUM FROM BUKAREST. 



order of the notorious Ibrahim, dictator of the Ismid district. 
Thousands of poor Armenians expelled from Constantinople are 
made to march on foot from Ismid to Konia and still further, 
after they have delivered up everything they possess to the 
gendarmes, including their shoes. Those who can afford to 
travel by rail are also fleeced by the gendarmes, who not only 
demand the price of the ticket from Constantinople to their 
destinations, but extract the whole of their money by selling 
them food at exorbitant prices. They demand payment even 
for unlocking the door of the water-closet. 

7. German travellers from Aleppo describe the misery of the 
deported Armenians as terrible. All along the route they saw 
corpses of Armenians who had died of hunger. 

The Arab deputies from Bagdad and Syria report that the 
misery in the deserts of Hauran is indescribable : — 

"The railway discharges into the mountains vast numbers of 
Armenians, who are abandoned there without bread or water. 
In the towns and villages, the Arabs try to bring them some 
relief ; but generally the Armenians are abandoned at five or 
six hours' distance from their homes. We saw on the way 
numbers of women and old men and children dying of hunger, 
who did not know where to look for help." 

Some Armenians are leading a Ufe of misery among the 
Arabs, forty or forty-five hours' journey from Bagdad. Every 
day numbers of them die of hunger. The Government gives 
them no food. Moreover, fresh troops have been sent to Bagdad, 
and these will be a new scourge to the unfortunate exiles. 

8. Three Special Commissions have been sent through the 
provinces to liquidate the abandoned goods and estates of the 
Armenians, in conformity with the new "temporary law" of 
the 13/26th September^ 1915. 



" Sonnenaufgang" and " Allgemeinc Missions-Zeitschrift." 25 

12. INFORMATION REGARDING EVENTS IN ARMENIA, PUBLISHED 
IN THE "SONNENAUFGANG" (ORGAN OF THE "GERMAN 
LEAGUE FOR THE PROMOTION OF CHRISTIAN CHARITABLE 
WORK IN THE EAST OCTOBER, 1915 ; AND IN THE 
" ALLGEMEINE MISSIONS-ZEITSCHRIFT," NOVEMBER, 1915. 

This testimony is especially significant because it comes from 
a German source, and because the German Censor made a strenuous 
attempt to suppress it. 

The same issue of the " Sonnenaufgang " contains the following 
editorial note : — 

" In our preceding issue we published an account by one of 
our sisters (Schwester Mohring) of her experiences on a journey, 
but we have to abstain from giving to the public the new details 
that are reaching us in abundance. It costs us much to do so, as 
our friends will understand ; but the political situation of our 
country demands it." 

In the case of the " Allgemeine Missions-Zeitschrift,'^ the Censor 
was not content with putting pressure on the editor. On the lOth 
November, he forbade the reproduction of the present article in the 
German press, and did his best to confiscate the whole current issue 
of the magazine. Copies of both publications, however, found their 
way across the frontier. 

Both the incriminating articles are drawn from common sources, 
but the extracts they make from them do not entirely coincide, so 
that, by putting them together, a fuller version of these sources can 
be compiled. 

In the text printed below, the unbracJceted paragraphs are those 
which appear both in the " Sonnenaufgang " and in the " Allge- 
meine Missions-Zeitschrift " ; while paragraphs included in angular 
brackets (<>) appear only in the ''Sonnenaufgang,!' and those in 
square brackets ([ ]) only in the Allgemeine Missions-Zeitschrift" 



Between the 10th and the 30th May, 1,200 of the most 
prominent Armenians and other Christians, without distinction 
of confei^>sion, were arrested in the Vilayets of Diyarbekir and 
Mamouret-ul-Aziz. 

<It is said that they were to be taken to Mosul, but nothing 
more has been heard of them.> 

[On the 30th May, 674 of them were embarked on thirteen 
Tigris barges, under the pretext that they were to be taken to 
Mosul. The VaH's aide-de-camp, assisted by fifty gendarmes, 
was in charge of the convoy. Half the gendarmes started off 
on the barges, while the other half rode along the bank. A short 
time after the start the prisoners were stripped of all their money 
(about £6,000 Turkish) and then of their clothes ; after that they 
were thrown into the river. The gendarmes on the bank were 
ordered to let none of them escape. The clothes of these victims 
were sold in the market of Diyarbekir.] 

[12] E2 



26 



" SONNENA UFGANG " AND 



<About the same time 700 young Armenian men were con- 
scribed, and were then set to build the Karabaghtche-Habashi 
road. There is no news of these 700 men either. 

It is said that in Diyarbekir five or six priests were stripped 
naked one day, smeared with tar, and dragged through the 
street s.> 

In the Vilayet of Aleppo they have evicted the inhabitants of 
Hadjin, Shar, Albustan, Goksoun, Tasholouk, Zeitoun, all the 
villages of Alabash, Geben, Shivilgi, Furnus and the surrounding 
villages, Fundadjak, Hassan-Beyh, Harni, LappashH, Dort Yol 
and others. 

[Thej^ have marched them off in convoys into the desert on the 
pretext of settling them there. In the village of Tel- Ar men 
(along the line of the Bagdad Railway, near Mosul) and in the 
neighbouring villages about 5,000 people were massacred, leaving 
only a few women and children. The people were thrown ahve 
down wells or into the fire. They pretend that the Armenians 
are to be employed in colonising land situated at a distance of 
from twenty -four to thirty kilometres from the Bagdad Railway. 
But as it is only the women and children who are sent into exile, 
since all the men, with the exception of the very old, are at the war, 
this means nothing less than the wholesale murder of the famihes, 
since they have neither the labour nor the capital for clearing the 
country.] 

A German met a Christian soldier of his acquaintance, who was 
on furlough from Jerusalem. The man was wandering up and 
down along the banks of the Euphrates searching for his wife and 
children, who were supposed to have been transferred to that 
neighbourhood. Such unfortunates are often to be met with in 
Aleppo, because they believe that there they will learn something 
more definite about the whereabouts of their relations. It 
has often happened that when a member of a family has been 
absent, he discovers on his return that all his family are gone — 
evicted from their homes. 

[For a whole month corpses were observed floating down the 
River Euphrates nearly every day, often in batches of from two 
to six corpses bound together. The male corpses are in many cases 
hideously mutilated (sexual organs cut off, and so on), the female 
corpses are ripped open. The Turkish military authority in 
control of the Euphrates, the Kaimakam of Djerablous, refuses 
to allow the burial of these corpses, on the ground that he finds 
it impossible to establish whether they belong to Moslems or to 
Christians. He adds that no one has given him any orders on 
the subject. The corpses stranded on the bank are devoured by 
dogs and vultures. To this fact there are many German eye- 
witnesses. An employee of the Bagdad Railway has brought 
the information that the prisons at Biredjik are filled regularly every 
day and emptied every night — into the Euphrates. Between 
Diyarbekir and Ourfa a German cavalry captain saw innumerable 
corpses lying unburied all along the road.] 

[12] 



" ALLGEMEINE MISSIONS-ZEITSCHRIFT/ 



27 



<The following telegram was sent to Aleppo from Arabkir : — 
We have accepted the True ReHgion. Now we are all right." 
The inhabitants of a village near Anderoum went over to Islam 
and had to hold to it. At Had j in six famiUes wanted to become 
Mohammedans. They received the verdict : " Nothing under 
one hundred famiUes will be accepted." 

Aleppo and Ourfa are the assemblage -places for the convoys 
of exiles. There were about 5,000 of them in Aleppo during June 
and July, while during the whole period from April to July 
many more than 50,000 must have passed through the city. 
The girls were abducted almost without exception by the soldiers 
and their Arab hangers-on. One father, on the verge of despair, 
besought me to take with me at least his fifteen-year-old daughter, 
as he could no longer protect her from the persecutions inflicted 
upon her. The children left behind by the Armenians on their 
journey are past counting. 

Women whose pains came upon them on the way had to 
continue their journey without respite. A woman bore twins in 
the neighbourhood of Aintab ; next morning she had to go on 
again. She very soon had to leave the children under a bush, and 
a Uttle while after she collapsed herseK. Another, whose pains 
came upon her during the march, was compelled to go on at once 
and fell down dead almost immediately. There were several more 
incidents of the same kind between Marash and Aleppo*. 

The villagers of Shar were permitted to carry all their house- 
hold effects with them. On the road they were suddenly told : 
" An order has come for us to leave the high road and travel 
across the mountains." Everything — waggons, oxen and be- 
longings — had to be left behind on the road, and then they went on 
over the mountains on foot. This year the heat has been ex- 
ceptionally severe, and many women and children naturally 
succumbed to it even in these early stages of their journey. 

There are about 30,000 exiles of whom we have no news at 
all, as they have arrived neither at Aleppo nor at Ourfa.> 



♦ " We have just picked up fifteen babies. Three are already dead. 
They were terribly thin and ailing when we found them. Ah ! If we 
could only write all that we see." — Extract from a letter dated Marash, 
4th June, 1915, published in " Sonnenaufgang," September, 1915. 

[12] 



28 



SPRING. 7916. 



13. STATEMENT MADE BY A FOREIGN RESIDENT AT CON 
STANTINOPLE TO A SWISS GENTLEMAN AT GENEVA; 
COMMUNICATED BY THE LATTER. 

When I left Turkey early in March (1916), the Armenian 
situation was as follows : — 

In general deportations had ceased, but local interference with 
Armenians continued. Quite often Armenians who had remained 
in the villages or cities between the Taurus Mountains and 
Constantinople have been sent from one locality to another 
within the province, or even to localities in other provinces. 

Arrests of Armenians in the Capital continue with considerable 
frequency. Those arrested were usually sent to some interior 
province, often to be killed or to be left to die from ill-treatment 
or lack of food. 

Extortion of money and supplies from Armenians, and dis- 
criminations against them in the distribution of bread and other 
food supplies, continue out of all proportion to these practices as 
apphed to other Ottoman subjects. 

The suffering of all Armenians, and especially of those in exile, 
is very great, and many are dying from lack of proper food and 
from disease. Anti- Armenian feeling among Moslems is in- 
creasing. 

Early in January of this year, trustworthy reports from Aleppo 
gave 492,000 as the number of deported Armenians who were at 
that time in the regions of Mosul, Der-el-Zor, Aleppo and 
Damascus*. Most of these are women and children and old men, 
practically all of whom are in great need of food and other 
necessities of Hfe. Without physicians and medicine, disease is 
reaping a rich harvest from these exiles. 

The Turkish Minister of the Interior has stated that about 
800,000 Armenians have been deported, and that about 300,000 
of these people have been killed or have perished from other 
causes. Other estimates place the number of deported at 
1,200,000, and the number who have perished from all causes at 
600,000. 



* See Doc. 139. d. 
[13i 



4th MAY, 1916. AMERICAN RELIEF COMMITTEE. 



29 



14. CABLEGRAM, DATED 4th MAY. 1916. TRANSMITTED THROUGH 
THE STATE DEPARTMENT AT WASHINGTON TO THE 
AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF, 
FROM THE COMMITTEE'S REPRESENTATIVES IN TURKEY. 

Aleppo, 

Relief work here supports 1,350 orphans, who are only a 
portion of the destitute children now in the city. It has also 
furnished food to famihes in nine destitute centres, including 
Hama, Rakka, EaUis and Damascus. £1,500 (Turkish) monthly 
are being used at Aleppo for orphans ; £600 (Turkish) are being 
used for the poor of Aleppo ; £2,245 (Turkish) are being used in 
the destitute centres. This is considered to be a minimum alloca- 
tion, and ten times the amount would not meet the full needs. 
The work is being overseen by the German and American Consuls. 
So insufficient are the funds that many exiles in the destitute places 
have only grass to eat, and they are djdng of starvation by 
hundreds. £1,000 (Turkish) are required each week for the 
Aleppo centre. 

Marash, 

Ten thousand Armenians are threatened with deportation, 
and all are in a most needy condition. Attempted industrial 
assistance for Moslems and Christians was stopped by Govern- 
ment. Christians are not allowed to do any business, and the 
price of food is very high. Export from Agno to Marash has 
been forbidden, and many people are dying of starvation. £1,600 
(Turkish) are needed here monthly. 

Aintab, 

Forty-five hundred Armenians remain here, two-thirds of 
whom are on reHef lists. Four hundred refugee women and 
children in city and neighbourhood require £1,000 (Turkish) each 
month. 

Tarsus. 

This being a station on the route taken by the exiles from 
the region north of Tarsus, the roads are always full of people in 
miserable condition. According to Government estimates, 92,000 
exiles have passed through Tarsus, while, according to other 
reports, the number is much larger. Typhus is very prevalent. 
The needs here require £500 (Turkish) a month. 

Adana. 

The situation here in general resembles that at Agno, with 
the special feature that many children need to be saved and 
fed. £500 (Turkish) monthly are needed. 

Sivas, 

In addition to the local Christian population remaining here, 
25,000 destitute refugees, including women and children from 
coast cities, have been added. All need help. Monthly require* 
ments amount to £600 (Turkish). 

[14] 



J6 4th MAY, 1916. AMERICAN RELIEF COMMITTEE. 

Konia. 

Two thousand orphans. £1,500 (Turkish) monthly required 
for the needs of this city and neighbouring places. 

Harpout. 

This place asks for £400 (Turkish) monthly. 

Marsovan and Kaisaria. 

£500 (Turkish) monthly are needed. 

Smyrna. 

There has been much sickness here and there is a scarcity of 
food. £400 (Turkish) monthly are needed. 

Broussa. 

£200 (Turkish) monthly are being used here. 



II. 

VILAYET OF VAN. 

The Vilayet of Van had a higher percentage of Armenians 
in its population than any other province of the Ottoman Empire ; 
it was also the border province of the north-eastern frontier y towards 
Russian and Persian territory ^ and as such was the earliest to be 
exposed to invasion after the breakdown of the Turkish offensive 
against the Caucasus in the winter of 1914-1915. 

The documents contained in this section give a detailed and 
perfectly self -consistent account, from five independent sources^ of 
those events at Van which led to the first open breach between the 
Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and the Turks, and which gave 
the Government a pretext for extending the scheme of deportation 
already operative in Cilicia to the whole Armenian population 
under its jurisdiction. 

The evidence makes it clear that there was no unprovoked 
insurrection of the Armenians at Van, as the Ottoman Government 
asserts in its official apologia. The Armenians only took up arms 
in self-defence, and the entire responsibility for the outbreak rests 
with Djevdet Bey, the local governor — whether he was acting on his 
own initiative or was simply carrying out instructions from Con- 
stantinople, 



32 



VAN. 



15. THE AMERICAN MISSION AT VAN : NARRATIVE PRINTED 
PRIVATELY IN THE UNITED STATES BY MISS GRACE HIGLEY 
KNAPP (1915). 

The first part of this narrative, down to and including the sub- 
section headed " Deliverance/' has been transcribed almost word 
for word by 3Iiss Knapp from a letter she wrote at Van, on the 
2Uh May, 1915, to Dr. Barton, and has, therefore, all the value of 
contemporary evidence. 

The period of the (first) Russian occupation of Van is also covered 
by two further letters from Miss Knapp to Dr. Barton — a long one 
written piece-meal on the lUh, 20th and 22nd June, and a second 
dated 2Qth July. These contain much more detail than the three 
corresponding sub-sections of her narrative, but the detail is principally 
devoted to personal matters and to the care of the Moslem refugees. 
As neither subject was strictly relevant to the purpose of the present 
collection, it seemed better to reprint the narrative rather than the 
letters in the case of these sections also. 

There is also a letter (published in the Eleventh Report of the 
Women's Armenian Relief Fund) from Miss Louie Bond to Mrs. 
Orpin, written on the 21th July, almost the eve of the evacuation ; 
but this, too, is practically entirely devoted to personal matters. 

For the period of the retreat there are no contemporary letters, 
but only an undated memorandum by Miss Knapp, which agrees 
word for word with the latter part of her present narrative, from the 
beginning of the section headed " Flight " to the end. 

The Setting of the Draima and the Actors Therein. 

Van was one of the most beautiful cities of Asiatic Turkey — 
a city of gardens and vineyards, situated on Lake Van in the centre 
of a plateau bordered by magnificent mountains. The walled 
city, containing the shops and most of^,the public^buildings, was 
dominated by Castle Rock, a huge rock rising sheer from the plain, 
crowned with ancient battlements and fortifications, and bearing 
on its lakeward face famous cuneiform inscriptions. The Gardens, 
so-called because nearly every house had its garden or vineyard, 
extended over four miles eastward from the waUed city and were 
about two miles in width. 

The inhabitants numbered fifty thousand, three-fifths of whom 
were Armenians, two-fifths Turks. The Armenians were pro- 
gressive and ambitious, and because of their numerical strength 
and the proximity of Russia the revolutionary partyi^grew to be 
a force to be reckoned with. Three of its noted leaders were 
Vremyan, member of the Ottoman Parhament ; Ishkhan, the 
one most skilled in mihtary tactics ; and Aram, of whom there 
will be much to say later. The Governor often consulted with these 
men and seemed to be on the most friendly terms with them. 

The American Mission Compound was on the south-eastern 
border of the middle third of the Gardens, on a slight rise of 
ground that made its buildings somewhat conspicuous. These 

[153 



MISS KNAPP. 



33 



buildings were a church building, two large new school buildings, 
two small ones, a lace school, a hospital, dispensary and four 
missionary residences. South-east, and quite near, was a broad 
plain. Here was the largest Turkish barracks of the large 
garrison, between which and the American premises nothing 
intervened. North and nearer, but with streets and houses 
between, was another large barracks, and farther north, within 
rifle range, was Toprak-Kala Hill, surmounted by a small barracks 
dubbed by the Americans the " Pepper Box." Five minutes' walk 
to the east of us was the German Orphanage managed by Herr 
Sporri, his wife and daughter (of Swiss extraction) and three single 
ladies. 

The American force in 1914-1915 consisted of the veteran 
missionary, Mrs. G. C. Raynolds (Dr. Raynolds had been in 
America a year and a half collecting funds for our Van college, 
and had been prevented from returning by the outbreak of war) ; 
Dr. Clarence D. Ussher, in charge of the hospital and medical 
work ; Mrs. Ussher, in charge of a philanthropic lace industry ; 
Mr. and Mrs. Ernest A. Yarrow, in charge of the Boys' School and 
general work ; Miss Gertrude Rogers, principal of the Girls' 
School ; Miss Caroline SilUman, in charge of the primary depart- 
ment, and two Armenian and one Turkish kindergarten ; Miss 
Elizabeth Ussher, in charge of the musical department ; Miss 
Louise Bond, the EngHsh superintendent of the hospital ; and 
Miss Grisel McLaren, our touring missionary. Dr. Ussher and 
Mr. Yarrow had each four children ; I was a visitor from Biths. 

Between the Devil and the Deep Sea. 

During the mobiHzation of the fall and winter the Armenians 
had been ruthlessly plundered under the name of requisitioning ; 
rich men were ruined and the poor stripped. Armenian soldiers 
in the Turkish army were neglected, half starved, set to digging 
trenches and doing the menial work ; but, worst of all, they were 
deprived of their arms and thus left at the mercy of their fanatical, 
age-long enemies, their Moslem fellow-soldiers. Small wonder 
that those who could find a loophole of escape or could pay for 
exemption from miUtary duty did so ; many of those who could 
do neither simply would not give themselves up. We felt that a 
day of reckoning would soon come — a coUision between these 
opposing forces or a holy war. But the revolutionists conducted 
themselves with remarkable restraint and prudence ; controlled 
their hot-headed youth ; patrolled the streets to prevent 
skirmishes ; and bade the villagers endure in silence — better 
a village or two burned unavenged than that any attempt at 
reprisals should furnish an excuse for massacre. 

For some time after Djevdet Bey, a brother-in-law of Enver 
Pasha, minister of war, became Governor General of Van Vilayet, 
he was absent from the city fighting at the border. When he 
returned in the early spring, everyone felt there would soon be 
" Bomething doing." There was. He demanded from the 

[15| 



34 



VAN. 



Armenians 3,000 soldiers. So anxious were they to keep the peace 
that they promised to accede to this demand. But at this 
juncture trouble broke out between Armenians and Turks in 
the Shadakh region, and Djevdet Bey requested Ishkhan to go there 
as peace commissioner, accompanied by three other notable 
revolutionists. On their way there he had all four treacherously 
murdered. This was Friday, the 16th April. He then summoned 
Vremyan to him under the pretence of consulting with this 
leader, arrested him and sent him off to Constantinople. 

The revolutionists now felt that they could not trust Djevdet 
Bey, the Vali, in any way and that therefore they could not give 
him the 3,000 men. They told him they would give 400 and pay 
by degrees the exemption tax for the rest. He would not accept 
the compromise. The Armenians begged Dr. Ussher and IVIr. 
Yarrow to see Djevdet Bey and try to mollify him. The Vah 
was obdurate. He " must be obeyed. " He would put down 
this " rebellion " at all costs. He would first punish Shadakh, 
then attend to Van, but if the rebels fired one shot meanwhile 
he would put to death every man, woman and child of the 
Christians. 

The fact cannot be too strongly emphasized that there was 
no " rebelhon." As already pointed out, the revolutionists 
meant to keep the peace if it lay in their power to do so. But 
for some time past a fine of Turkish entrenchments had been 
secretly drawn round the Armenian quarter of the Gardens. 
The revolutionists, determined to sell their lives as dearly as 
possible, prepared a defensive Hne of entrenchments. 

Djevdet Bey said he wished to send a guard of fifty soldiers 
to the American premises. This guard must be accepted or a 
written statement given him by the Americans to the effect that 
it had been offered and refused, so that he should be absolved 
from all responsibihty for our safety. He wished for an im- 
mediate answer, but at last consented to wait till Sunday noon. 

Our Armenian friends, most of them, agreed that the guard 
must be accepted. But the revolutionists declared that such a 
force in so central a location menaced the safety of the Armenian 
forces and that they would never permit it to reach our premises 
ahve. We might have a guard of five. But Djevdet Bey 
would give us fifty or none. Truly we w^ere between the devil 
and the deep sea, for, if both revolutionists and Vah kept their 
word, we should be the occasion for the outbreak of trouble^ if 
the guard were sent ; if it were not sent, we should have no official 
assurance of safety for the thousands who were already preparing 
to take refuge on our premises. We should be blamed for an 
unhappy outcome either way. On Monday, when Dr. Ussher saw 
the Vali again, he seemed to be wavering and asked if he should 
send the guard. Dr. Ussher left the decision with him, but added 
that the sending of such a force might precipitate trouble. It was 
never sent. 



[15] 



MISS KNAPP. 



35 



Meanwhile Djevdet Bey had asked Miss McLaren and Sch wester 
Martha, who had been nursing in the Turkish military hospital 
all winter, to continue their work there, and they had consented. 

War ! " Ishim Yok, Keifim Tchok." 

On Tuesday, the 20th April, at 6 a.m., some Turkish soldiers 
tried to seize one of a band of village women on their way to the 
city. She fled. Two Armenian soldiers came up and asked the 
Turks what they were doing. The Turkish soldiers fired on the 
Armenians, killing them. Thereupon the Turkish entrenchments 
opened fire. The siege had begun. There was a steady rifle 
firing all day, and from the walled city, now cut off from com- 
munication with the Gardens, was heard a continuous cannonading 
from Castle Rock upon the houses below. In the evening, houses 
were seen burning in every direction. 

All the Armenians in the Gardens — nearly 30,000, as the 
Armenian population of the walled city is small — were now 
gathered into a district about a mile square, protected by eighty 
" teerks " (manned and barricaded houses) besides walls and 
trenches. The Armenian force consisted of 1,500 trained riflemen 
possessing only about 300 rifles. Their supply of ammunition 
was not great, so they were very sparing of it ; used pistols only, 
when they could, and employed all sorts of devices to draw the 
fire of the enemy and waste their ammunition. They began to 
make bullets and cartridges, turning out 2,000 a day ; also gun- 
powder, and after awhile they made three mortars for throwing 
bombs. The supply of material for the manufacture of these 
things was limited, and methods and implements were crude and 
primitive, but they were very happy and hopeful and exultant 
over their ability to keep the enemy at bay. Some of the rules 
for their men were : Keep clean; do not drink ; tell the truth ; 
do not curse the religion of the enemy. They sent a manifesto 
to the Turks to the effect that their quarrel was with one man and 
not with their Turkish neighbours. Valis might come and go, 
but the two races must continue to live together, and they hoped 
that after Djevdet went there might be peaceful and friendly 
relations between them. The Turks answered in the same spirit, 
saying that they were forced to fight. Indeed, a protest against 
this war was signed by many prominent Turks, but Djevdet 
would pay no attention to it. 

The Armenians took and burned (the inmates, however, 
escaping) the barracks north of our premises, but apart from this 
they did not attempt the offensive to any extent — their numbers 
were too few. They were fighting for their homes, their very 
lives, and our sympathies could not but be wholly on their side, 
though we strove to keep our actions neutral. We allowed 
no armed men to enter the premises, and their leader, Aram, in 
order to help us to preserve the neutrality of our premises, forbade 
the bringing of wounded soldiers to our hospital, though Dr. 
Ussher treated them at their own temporary hospital. But 

[15] 



36 



VAN. 



Djevdet Bey wrote to Dr. Ussher on the 23rd that armed men had 
been seen entering our premises and that the rebels had prepared 
entrenchments near us. If, at the time of attack, one shot were 
fired from these entrenchments, he would be " regretfully com- 
pelled " to turn his cannon upon our premises and completely 
destroy them. We might know this for a surety. We answered 
that we were preserving the neutrahty of our premises by every 
means in our power. By no law could we be held responsible 
for the actions of individuals or organisations outside our premises. 

Our correspondence with the Vali was carried on through our 
official representative, Signor Sbordone, the Italian consular 
agent, aind our postman was an old woman bearing a flag of truce. 
On her second journey she fell into a ditch and, rising without her 
white flag, was instantly shot dead by Turkish soldiers. Another 
was found, but she was wounded while sitting at the door of her 
shack on our premises. Then Aram said that he would permit no 
further correspondence until the VaH should answer a letter of 
Sbordone's, in which the latter had told Djevdet that he had no 
right to expect the Armenians to surrender now, since the cam- 
paign had taken on the character of a massacre. 

Djevdet would permit no communication with Miss McLaren 
at the Turkish hospital, and would answer no question of ours 
concerning her welfare, though after two weeks he wrote to Herr 
Sporri that she and Schwester Martha were weU and comfortable. 
Dr. Ussher had known the Vali as a boy and had always been on 
the most friendly terms with him, but in a letter to the Austrian 
banker who had taken refuge on the German premises, the Vali 
wrote that one of his officers had taken some Russian prisoners 
and cannon and that he would cause them to parade in front of 
His Majesty Dr. Ussher 's fortifications, so that he, who with the 
rebels was always awaiting the Russians, should see them and be 
content." This letter ended with the words : " Ishim yok, keifim 
tchok " ("I have no work and much fun.") While he was having 
no work and much fun, his soldiers and their wild allies, the Kurds, 
were sweeping the countryside, massacring men, women, and 
children and burning their homes. Babies were shot in their 
mothers' arms, small children were horribly mutilated, women 
were stripped and beaten. The villages were not prepared for 
attack ; many made no resistance ; others resisted until their 
ammunition gave out. On Sunday, the 25th, the first band of 
village refugees came to the city. At early dawn we heard them 
knocking, knocking, knocking at our gate. Dr. Ussher went out 
in dressing gown and slippers to hear their pitiful tale and send 
the wounded to the hospital, where he worked over them all day. 

The Mission's First-aid to the Injured. 
Six thousand people from the Gardens had early removed to 
our premises with all their worldly possessions, filling church and 
school buildings and every room that could possibly be spared 
in the missionary residences. One woman said to Miss Silliman ; 

(15] 



MISS KNAPP. 



37 



** What would we do without this place ? This is the third 
massacre during which I have taken refuge here." A large 
proportion of these people had to be fed, as they had been so poor 
that they had bought daily from the ovens what bread they had 
money for, and now that resource was cut off. Housing, sanita- 
tion, government, food, relation with the revolutionist forces, 
were problems that required great tact and executive abihty. 
The Armenians were not able to cope with these problems unaided. 
They turned to the missionaries for help. 

Mr. Yarrow has a splendid gift for organisation. He soon 
had everything in smoothly running order, with everyone hard at 
work at what he was best fitted to do. A regular city government 
for the whole city of thirty thousand inhabitants was organised 
with mayor, judges, and poHce — the town had never been so well 
poHced before. Committees were formed to deal with every 
possible contingency. Grain was sold or contributed to the 
common fund by those who possessed it, most of whom manifested 
a generous and self-sacrificing spirit ; one man gave all the wheat 
he possessed except a month's supply for his family. The use 
of a public oven was secured, bread tickets issued, a soup kitchen 
opened, and daily rations were given out to those on our premises 
and those outside who needed food. Miss Rogers and Miss 
Silliman secured a daily supply of milk, and made some of their 
school-girls boil it and distribute it to babies who needed it, until 
190 were being thus fed. The Boy Scouts, whom thirteen- 
year-old Neville Ussher had helped organize in the fall, now did 
yeoman's service in protecting the buildings against the dangers 
of fire, keeping the premises clean, carrying wounded on stretchers, 
reporting the sick, and, during the fourth week, distributing milk 
and eggs to babies and sick outside the premises. 

Our hospital, which had a normal capacity of fifty beds, was 
made to accommodate one hundred and sixty-seven, beds being 
borrowed and placed on the floor in every available space. Such 
of the wounded as could walk or be brought to the hospital came 
regularly to have their wounds dressed. Many compUcated 
operations were required to repair the mutilations inflicted by 
an unimaginable brutahty and love of torture. Dr. Ussher, 
as the only physician and surgeon in the besieged city, had not 
only the care of the patients in his hospital, the treatment of the 
wounded refugees and of the wounded Armenian soldiers, but his 
dispensary and out-patients increased to an appaUing number. 
Among the refugees exposure and privation brought in their 
train scores of cases of pneutoonia and dysentery, and an epidemic 
of measles raged among the children. Miss SilHman took charge 
of a measles annex. Miss Rogers and Miss Ussher helped in the 
hospital, where Miss Bond and her Armenian nurses were worked 
to the Umit of their strength, and after a while Mrs. Ussher, aided 
by Miss Rogers, opened an overflow hospital in an Armenian 
school-house, cleared of refugees for the purpose. Here it was a 

[15] 



38 



VAN. 



struggle to get beds, utensils, helpers, even food enough for the 
patients. Indeed all this extra medical and surgical work was 
hampered by insufficient medical and surgical supplies, for the 
annual shipment had been stalled at Alexandretta. 

Dark Days. 

At the end of two weeks the people in the walled city managed 
to send us word that they were holding their own and had taken 
some of the government buildings, though they were only a hand- 
ful of fighters and were cannonaded day and night. About 
16,000 cannon balls or shrapnel were fired upon them. The old- 
fashioned balls sunk into the three-feet thick walls of sun-dried 
brick without doing much harm. In time, of course, the walls 
would fall in, but they were the walls of upper stories. People 
took refuge in the lower stories, so only three persons lost their 
fives from this cause. Some of the " teerks " in the Gardens were 
also cannonaded without much damage being done. It seemed 
the enemy was reserving his heavier cannon and his shrapnel till 
the last. Three cannon balls fell on our premises the first week, 
one of them on a porch of the Usshers' house. Thirteen persons 
were wounded by bullets on the premises, one fatally. Our 
premises were so centrally located that the bullets of the Turks 
kept whizzing through, entered several rooms, broke the tiles on 
the roofs, and peppered the outside of the walls. We became so 
used to the pop-pop-pop of rifles and booming of cannon that we 
paid fittle attention to them in the daytime, but the fierce fusil- 
lades at night were rather nerve-racking. 

A man escaping from Ardjish related the fate of that town, 
second in size and importance to Van in the vilayet. The kaima- 
kam had called the men of all the guilds together on the 19th 
April, and, as he had always been friendly to the Armenians, they 
trusted him. When they had all gathered, he had them moAvn 
down by his soldiers. 

Many of the village refugees had stopped short of the city at 
the little village of Shushantz, on a mountain side near the city. 
Here Aram bade them remain. On the 8th May we saw the 
place in flames, and Varak Monastery near by, with its priceless 
ancient manuscripts, also went up in smoke. These villagers 
now flocked into the city. Djevdet seemed to have altered his 
tactics. He had women and children driven in by hundreds 
to help starve the city out. Owing to the mobilisation of the 
previous fall, the supply of wheat in the Gardens had been very 
much less than usual to begin with, and now that 10,000 refugees 
were being given a daily ration, though a ration barely sufficient 
to sustain life, this supply was rapidly approaching its limit. 
The ammunition was also giving out. Djevdet could bring in 
plenty of men and ammunition from other cities. Unless help 
came from Russia, it was impossible for the city to hold out much 
longer against Jiim, and the hope of such help seemed very faint. 



MISS KNAPP. 



39 



We had no communication with the outside world ; a telegram 
we had prepared to send to our embassy before the siege never 
left the city ; the revolutionists were constantly sending out 
appeals for help to the Russo -Armenian volunteers on the border, 
but no word or sign of their reaching their destination was 
received by us. At the very last, when the Turks should come 
to close quarters, we knew that all the population of the besieged 
city would crowd into our premises as a last hope. But, enraged 
as Djevdet was by this unexpected and prolonged resistance, was 
it to be hoped that he could be persuaded to spare the lives of 
one of these men, women and children ? We believed not. He 
might offer the Americans personal safety if we would leave the 
premises, but this, of course, we would not do ; we would share 
the fate of our people. And it seemed not at all improbable that 
he would not even offer us safety, believing, as he seemed to believe, 
that we were aiding and upholding the " rebels." 

Those were dark days indeed. Our little American circle 
came together two evenings in the week to discuss the problems 
constantly arising. We would joke and laugh over some aspects 
of our situation, but as we listened to the volley firing only two 
blocks away, we knew that at any hour the heroic but weakening 
defence might be overpowered ; knew that then hell would be let 
loose in the crowded city and our crowded compound ; knew that 
we should mtness unspeakable atrocities perpetrated on the per- 
sons of those we loved, and probably suffer them in our own 
persons. And we would sing : 

'* Peace, perfect peace ; the future all unknown ! 
Jesus we know and He is on the throne," 
and pray to the God who was able to deliver us out of the very 
mouth of the lion. 

On Saturday forenoon a rift seemed to appear in the clouds, 
for many ships were seen on the lake, saiKng away from Van, and 
we heard that they contained Turkish women and children. We 
became a " city all gone up to the housetops," wondering and 
surmising. Once before such a flight had taken place, when the 
Russians had advanced as far as Sarai. They had retreated, 
however, and the Turkish families had returned. 

That afternoon the sky darkened again. Cannon at the Big 
Barracks on the plain began to fire in our direction. At first 
we could not believe that the shots were aimed at our flag, but 
no doubt was permitted us on that point. Seven shells fell on 
the premises, one on the roof of Mss Rogers' and Miss Silliman's 
house, making a big hole in it ; two others did the same thing on 
the boys'-school and girls'-school roofs. On Sunday morning the 
bombardment began again. Twenty-six shells fell on the 
premises before noon. 

When the heavy firing began Dr. Ussher was visiting patients 
outside and Mrs. Ussher was also away from home at her overflow 
hospital, so I ran over from our own hospital to take their children 

[15] F 



40 



VAN. 



to the safest part of the house, a narrow hall on the first floor. 
There we listened to the shrieking of the shrapnel and awaited 
the bursting of each shell. A deafening explosion shook the house. 
I ran up to my room to find it so full of dust and smoke that I 
could not see a foot before me. A shell had come through 
the three-feet-thick outside wall, burst, scattering its contained 
bullets, and its cap had passed through a partition wall into the 
next room and broken a door opposite. A shell entered a room in 
Mrs. Raynold's house, killing a httle Armenian girl. Ten more 
shells fell in the afternoon. Djevdet was fulfilling his threat of 
bombarding our premises, and this proved to us that we could 
hope for no mercy at his hands when he should take the city.* 

Deliverance. 

In this darkest hour of all came dehverance. A lull followed 
the cannonading. Then at sunset a letter came from the occupants 
of the only Armenian house within the Turkish lines which had 
been spared (this because Djevdet had Hved in it when a boy) 
which gave the information that the Turks had left the city. 
The barracks on the summit and at the foot of Toprak-Kala were 
found to contain so small a guard that it was easily overpowered, 
and these buildings were burned amidst the wildest excitement. 
So with all the Turkish " teerks," which were visited in turn. 
The Big Barracks was next seen to disgorge its garrison, a large 
company of horsemen who rode away over the hills, and that 
building, too, was burned after midnight. Large stores of wheat 
and ammunition were found. It all reminded one of the seventh 
chapter of II. Kings. 

The whole city was awake, singing and rejoicing all night. 
In the morning its inhabitants could go whither they would un- 
afraid. And now came the first check to our rejoicing. Mss 
McLaren was gone ! She and Schwester Martha had been sent 
with the patients of the Turkish hospital four days before to Biths. 

Mr. Yarrow went to the hospital. He found there twenty- 
five wounded soldiers too sick to travel, left there without food or 
water for five days. He found unburied dead. He stayed all 
day in the horrible place, that his presence might protect the 
terrified creatures until he could secure their removal to our 
hospital. 

* The shelling of the mission buildings is also described by Mr. Yarrow, in 
an interview published in the New York " Times," 6th October, 1915, the day 
after his arrival in America : — 

" For twenty -seven days 1,500 determined Armenians held Van 
against 5,000 Turks and Kurds, and for the last three days they were shelled 
with shrapnel from a howitzer brought up by a Turkish company headed 
by a German officer. I myself saw him directing the fire of the gun. 

" Two days before the Russians came to Van, the Turks dehberately 
fired at the mission buildings. They stood out prominently and could no^t 
be mistaken, and also flew five American flags and one Red Cross flag as a 
protection. The firing was so accurate that the shots cut the signal hal- 
yards and brought the flags to the ground." 

[15] 



MISS KNAPP. 



41 



On Wednesday, the 19th May, the Russians and Russo- 
Armenian volunteers came into the city. It had been the know- 
ledge of their approach that had caused the Turks to flee. Some 
hard fighting had to be done in the villages, however, before 
Djevdet and his reinforcements were driven out of the province. 
Troops poured into the city from Russia and Persia and passed 
on towards Bitlis. 

Aram was made temporary governor of the province, and, for 
the first time for centuries, Armenians were given a chance to 
govern themselves. Business revived. People began to rebuild 
their burned houses and shops. We re-opened our mission schools, 
except the school in the walled city, the school-house there having 
been burned. 

The Tables Turned. 

Not all the Turks had fled from the city. Some old men and 
women and children had stayed behind, many of them in hiding. 
The Armenian soldiers, unlike Turks, were not making war on 
such. There was only one place where the captives could be 
safe from the rabble, however. In their dilemma the Armenians 
turned, as usual, to the American missionaries. And so it came 
to pass that hardly had the six thousand Armenian refugees 
left our premises when the care of a thousand Turkish refugees 
was thrust upon us, some of them from villages the Russo- 
Armenian volunteers were " cleaning out." 

It was with the greatest difficulty that food could be procured 
for these people. The city had an army to feed now. Wheat — 
the stores left by the Turks — was obtainable, but no flour, and the 
use of a mill was not available for some time. The missionaries 
had no help in a task so distasteful to the Armenians except that 
of two or three of the teachers of the school in the waUed city, who 
now had no other work. Mr. Yarrow was obhged to drop most 
of his other duties and spend practically all his time working for 
our proteges. Mrs. Yarrow, Miss Rogers and Miss SiUiman 
administered medicines and tried to give every one of the poor 
creatures a bath. Mrs. Ussher had bedding made, and secured 
and personally dispensed milk to the children and sick, spending 
several hours daily among them. 

The wild Cossacks considered the Turkish women legitimate 
prey, and though the Russian General gave us a small guard, there 
was seldom a night during the first two or three weeks in which Dr. 
Ussher and Mr. Yarrow did not have to drive ofl marauders 
who had climbed over the walls of the compound and eluded the 
guard. 

The effect on its followers of the religion of Islam was never 
more strongly contrasted with Christianity. While the Armenian 
refugees had been mutually helpful and seK-sacrificing, these 
Moslems showed themselves absolutely selfish, caUous and in- 
different to each other's suffering. Where the Armenians had 

[15] ¥2 



42 



VAN. 



been cheery and hopeful, and had clung to life with wonderful 
vitality, the Moslems, with no faith in God and no hope of a future 
life, bereft now of hope in this Hfe, died like flies of the prevaihng 
dysentery from lack of stamina and the will to Uve. 

The situation became intolerable. The missionaries begged 
the Russian General to send these people out to villages, mth a 
guard sufficient for safety and flocks to maintain them until they 
could begin to get their Uving from the soil. He was too much 
occupied with other matters to attend to us. 

After six weeks of this, Countess Alexandra Tolstoi (daughter 
of the famous novehst) came to Van and took off our hands the 
care of our " guests," though they remained on our premises. 
8he was a young woman, simple, sensible, and lovable. We gave 
lier a surprise party on her birthdaj^ carrying her the traditional 
cake v^dth candles and crowning her with flowers, and she declared 
she had never had a birthday so dehghtfully celebrated in all her 
life. She worked hard for her charges. When her funds gave out 
and no more were forthcoming and her Russian helpers fell ill, 
she succeeded where we had failed and induced the General to 
send the Turks out into the country with provision for their 
safety and sustenance. 

The Pestilence that Walketh in Darkness. 

Our Turkish refugees cost us a fearful price. 

The last day of June Mrs. Ussher took her children, who had 
whooping cough; out of the pestilential atmosphere of the city to 
Artamid, the summer home on Lake Van, nine miles away. 
Dr. Ussher went there for the week-end, desperately in need of a 
little rest. On Saturday night they both became very ill. Upon 
hearing of this I went down to take care of them. On Monday 
Mr. and Mrs. Yarrow also fell ill. Ten days yet remained till the 
time set for closing the hospital for the summer, but Miss Bond set 
her nurses to the task of sending the patients away and went over 
to nurse the Yarrows. This left me without help for five days. 
Then, for four days more, two Armenian nurses cared for the sick 
ones at night and an untrained man nurse helped me during the 
daytime. Miss Rogers had come down on Thursday, the day after 
commencement, for the cure of what she beUeved to be an attack 
of malaria. On Friday she too fell ill. Fortunately, there was at 
last a really good Russian physician in town, and he was most 
faithful in his attendance. The sickness proved to be typhus. 
Later we learned that at about the same time Miss SiUiman, 
who had left for America on her furlough on the 15th June, 
accompanied by Neville Ussher, had been ill at Tiflis with what 
we now know was a mild form of the same disease. Dr. Ussher 
might have contracted it from his outside patients, but the others 
undoubtedly contracted it from the Turkish refugees. 

Mrs. Yarrow was dangerously ill, but passed her crisis safely 
and first of all. ]\Iiss Bond then came to Artamid, though Mr. 
Yarrow was still very ill, feeling that the Usshers needed her more 

[15] 



MISS KNAPP. 



43 



on account of their distance from the doctor. Miss Ussher took 
charge of the Yarrow children up in Van ; Mrs. Raynolds managed 
the business a£fairs of the mission. 

Mrs. Ussher had a very severe form of the disease, and her 
deUcate frame, worn out with the overwork and terrible strain 
of the months past, could make no resistance. On the 14th 
July she entered into the Hfe eternal. 

We dared not let the sick ones suspect what had happened. 
Dr. Ussher was too ill at the time and for more than two weeks 
longer to be told of his terrible loss. For three months preceding 
his illness he had been the only physician in Van, and the strain 
of over-work and sleeplessness told severely now. After he had 
passed his typhus crisis, his Hfe was in danger for a week longer 
from the pneumonia which had been a compHcation from the 
first. Then followed another not infrequent complication of 
typhus, an abscess in the parotid gland which caused long-con- 
tinued weakness and suffering, at one time threatened hfe and 
reason, and has had serious consequences which may prove 
permanent. IVIr. Yarrow was so ill that his hfe was quite despaired 
of. It was by a veritable miracle that he was restored to us. 

Flight. 

Meanwhile the Russian army had been slowly advancing 
westward. It had not been uniformly successful as we had ex- 
pected it to be. Indeed, the Russians seemed to fight sluggishly 
and unenthusiastically. The Russo-Armenian volunteers, who 
were always sent ahead of the main army, did the heavy fighting. 
By the last week of July the Russians had not yet takerf Bitlis, 
only ninety miles distant from Van. Suddenly the Turldsh army 
began to advance towards Van, and the Russian army to retreat. 

On Friday, the 30th July, General NicolaiefF ordered all the 
Armenians of the Van province, also the Americans and other 
foreigners, to flee for their lives. By Saturday night the city was 
nearly emptied of Armenians and quite emptied of conveyances. 
Nearly aU our teachers, nurses, employees had left. It was every 
man for himself and no one to help us secure carriages or horses 
for our own flight. We at Artamid, with a sick man to provide for, 
would have had great difficulty in getting up to the city in time, 
had not Mrs. Yarrow risen from her sick-bed to go to the General 
and beg him to send us ambulances. These reached us after 
midnight. 

There was little question in our minds as to our own flight. 
Our experience during the siege had shown us that the fact of our 
being. Americans would not protect us from the Turks. Had not 
our two men, Mr. Yarrow and Dr. Ussher, been absolutely helpless 
we might have debated the matter. As it was, we women could 
not assume the responsibiUty of staying and keeping them there, 
and even if we had stayed we could have found no means to live 
in a deserted city. 

[15] 



44 



VAN. 



We were fifteen Americans and had ten Armenian dependents 
— women and children — to provide for. The head nurse of the 
hospital, Garabed, plucky and loyal little fellow that he was, had 
sent on his mother and wife and had remained behind to help 
us get out of the country. Dr. Ussher's man-cook, having ])een 
vv'ith us at Artamid when the panic began, had been unable to 
secure conveyance for his sick wife. We greatly needed his help 
on the journey, but this involved our providing for a third sick 
person. We had three horses, an American grocer's delivery 
cart, really not strong enough for heavy work on rough and 
mountainous roads, and a small cart that would seat three. Our 
two other carts were not usable. 

We begged the General to give us ambulances. He absolutely 
refused — he had none to spare. But, he added, he was to be 
replaced in a day or two by General Trokin ; we could appeal to 
him when he came ; the danger was not immediate. Somewhat 
reassured and not knowing how we could manage without help 
from the Russians, we made no effort to leave that day. But the 
next day, Monday, we heard that the volunteers who were trying 
to keep the road open to Russia would not be able to do so much 
longer — there was no time to lose. We set to work. 

One of our teachers who had not succeeded in getting away 
before Monday morning, kindly took a small bag of clothing on 
his ox-cart for each of us. We spread the quilts and blankets 
we should need on the way on the bottom of the dehvery cart, 
intending to lay our three sick people on these. Garabed, who 
had never driven a team in his hfe, must drive two of our horses in 
this carf . Mrs. Raynolds would drive the third horse harnessed to 
the small cart, and take the babies and what food there was 
possibly room for ; no provisions could be bought on the way. 
The rest of us must walk, though Mrs. Yarrow and Miss Rogers 
were newly risen from a sick bed and the children were all under 
twelve. We put loads on the cows we must take with us for the 
sake of the babies and the patients. But the cows were refractory ; 
they kicked off the loads and ran wildly about the yard, tails up, 
heads down, whereupon the single horse broke loose and " also 
ran," smashing the small cart. 

At this moment, the " psychological moment," two doctors 
of the Russian Red Cross rode into our yard. Seeing our plight 
they turned and rode out again. They returned a Uttle later and 
on their own responsibility promised to take us with the Red Cross 
caravan. Thank the Lord ! 

We now put our loads on the delivery cart ; put the wheels of 
the smashed cart on the body of a wheelless cart, and now that 
we might take a little more with us than food and bedding, packed 
in bags what we felt to be absolutely necessary. What we left 
behind we should never see again ; we felt certain that the 
Russian soldiers before they left would loot our houses md 
perhaps burn them to forestall the Turks. 

[15] 



MISS KNAPP. 



45 



The Red Cross provided us with two ambulances with horses 
and drivers, and a stretcher carried between two horses for Dr. 
Ussher. He was usually taken into one of their sick tents when we 
camped at night ; most of the rest of us slept on the ground in the 
open. 

We left on Tuesday, the 3rd August. The Russians appeared 
to have received news that made them very uneasy, and, indeed, 
General Trokin himself left Van that very afternoon, as we learned 
later. The next day at sundown we heard the firing between the 
Kurds and the volunteers who were so gallantly trying to keep 
them at bay, to keep the road to Russia open as long as possible. 
It sounded startlingly near. We travelled till two a.m. that night 
in order to reach Bergri, where we should be, not safe, but beyond 
the Hne along which the Turks would try to intercept travellers. 
We were just in time. General Trokin's party, that had left Van 
only a few hours later than we, were unable to reach Bergri, and 
had to return and get out by the longer route through Persia. 
Had we with our slower rate of travel been obhged to do this, we 
might not have been able to get out at all. 

The Arrow that Flieth by Day. 

That afternoon — Thursday afternoon — we forded a wide and 
deep river, then entered a narrow valley, from the mountains 
commanding which Kurds suddenly began to fire down on the 
Red Cross caravan and the thousands of foot travellers. One 
man in an ambulance was killed, others wounded. The drivers 
of ambulances and Utters whipped up their horses to a mad gallop. 
It was a race for Hfe. The sight of those gasping, terror-stricken 
thousands was one never to be forgotten. The teacher who had 
taken our bags of clothing threw everything off his ox-cart in order 
to escape with his Ufe. The Armenians on our long wagon threw 
off much of the luggage to lighten it, and thus we lost most of 
what we had brought with us. 

Once out of the valley we were comparatively safe. We met 
a force of volunteers and "Cossacks who entered the valley to 
engage with the Kurds. Mrs.^Raynolds had^been riding in the 
small cart. After the danger was'over, while getting out of the 
cart, she fell and broke her leg below^the knee. The Red Cross 
physicians set it at once, but she suffered greatly during the 
remainder of the journey over the rough roads, though lying at 
full length in one of our ambulances. She was quite helpless. 
Mr. Yarrow lay, too, in his ambulance, which he was unable to 
leave day or night during the journey, except when he was carried 
into a Red Cross tent on Sunday. 

On Friday all but the four helpless ones and the babies walked 
over Mt. Taparez. On Saturday we again climbed on foot a high 
mountain, from sundown till three o'clock the next morning. 
The caravan rested on Sunday at a Red Cross camp near the top of 
TchingH Mt. at the foot of Mt. Ararat. Here Dr. Ussher had two 

[15] 



46 



VAN. 



severe operations on his face without anaesthetics. On Monday 
at sunset we reached Igdir. Dr. Ussher was taken to a mihtary 
hospital for officers, and the military sent him on to Tiflis on 
Thursday. We could not secure carriages until Wednesday 
morning to take us to the railway station at Etchmiadzin. We 
arrived in Tiflis the next morning. 

Safe ! — But Sorrowing. 

Most of us had lost nearly everything but the clothes we stood 
in, and these we had worn day and night during the ten days' 
journey. Small wonder that the first hotel we went to had 
" no rooms." Mr. Smith, the American Consul, was most kind 
and did everything he could for us. He secured a room in a 
private hospital for Mrs. Raynolds and a bed in the city hospital 
for Dr. Ussher. 

Dr. Ussher was again brought to death's door by very severe 
dysentery contracted on the road. He had become a nervous 
and physical wreck and in appearance the ghost of himself. 

Dysentery was epidemic among the scores of thousands of 
refugees from Van Province who had crowded into Transcaucasia. 
The very air seemed poisoned ; our children were all ill, and it 
seemed to us that they would not get well until we could leave 
Tiflis. 

Mrs. Raynolds' broken bone refused to knit. She seemed also 
to be suffering from a collapse of her whole system. She would 
lie there patient, indifferent to what was going on about her, 
sunk in memories of the past, perhaps — who can say ? 

On the 24th August we were astounded at receiving a telegram 
from Dr. Raynolds. We had not heard of his leaving America 
and here he was at Petrograd ! It seems he had started for Van 
as soon as he had heard of the Russian occupation, in company with 
Mr. Henry White, who was to teach in our college. At Petrograd 
he learned from the ambassador that the Van missionaries were 
in Tiflis, but of the reason therefor he had heard not a word, nor 
had he heard of his wife's condition. 

Mrs. Raynolds brightened for a moment when told that her 
husband was on the way to her. Then the things of earth seemed 
to slip away from her ; she might not tarry even for the dear one's 
coming. On Friday, the 27th August, her tired spirit found rest. 
Two days later Dr. Raynolds arrived to find wife gone, house 
gone, the work of his lifetime seemingly in ruins, the people 
he had loved exiles and destitute. 

On Tuesday Mrs. Raynolds was laid to rest in the German 
Lutheran cemetery, and around her were gathered many of those 
whom she had Uved to serve. 

Then Dr. Raynolds and Mr. White decided that there was 
nothing left for them to do but return with us to America, and we 
left that week for Petrograd. There the American managers 
of what corresponds to our Y.M.C.A. were exceedingly kind and 

[15] 



MISS KNAPP, 



•47 



helpful. The city was so full of refugees from Poland that we 
had to sleep on tables in the Association halls the first night, but 
succeeded in securing rooms the next day. The children re- 
covered, and Dr. Ussher's improvement in health from the time 
of our arrival in Petrograd was simply wonderful. Mr. Yarrow 
seemed now quite himself again, although in reality he had not 
fully regained his strength. 

Travelling up by rail round the GuK of Bothnia, we spent a 
few days in Stockholm and sailed from Christiania on the 24th 
September, on the Danish ship " Hellig Olav." 

We had had absolutely no news from any station in Turkey 
since the middle of April, and from America only what information 
Dr. Raynolds had brought us. On our arrival in New York, on 
the 5th October, we heard of the massacre of the Armenians in 
Bitlis by Djevdet Bey as soon as he had reached there after having 
been driven from Van. We heard of Miss Ely's death there in 
July, and of my brother's death, on the 10th August, in Diyar- 
bekir*; we heard that Miss McLaren was ill with typhus in Bitlis, 
and later that she was well ; we learned of the massacre of 
Armenians all over Turkey and of their deportation. The Van 
refugees have been fortunate by comparison in that they could 
flee. Money for their relief has been sent to Transcaucasia ; a 
few of them have succeeded in securing passports and getting to 
America, 



* See Doc. 23. page 89. 
(153 



48 



VAN. 



16. VAN : LETTER DATED VAN, 7th JUNE, 1915, FROM MR. 
Y. K. RUSHDOUNI ; PUBLISHED IN THE " MANCHESTER 
GUARDIAN," 2nd AUGUST, 1916. 

The day after Germany's declaration of war on Russia, 
martial law was proclaimed in Van, and the Turkish Government 
set about the work of mobilisation. The Armenians responded to 
the call in a better mood than the Moslems, many of whom either 
ran away or did not present themselves for service. But from the 
very beginning the authorities adopted a harsh attitude towards 
the Armenians in the Vilayet. Under the pretence of requisi- 
tioning, they ruthlessly plundered and looted the Armenians. 
Business was brought to an absolute standstill, and the import 
and sale of wheat in the city was forbidden on the plea that it 
was needed to provision the armies — though ways and means were 
always found if the applicant was a Moslem. As for the Armenian 
soldiers in the Turkish army, they were neglected, half -starved, 
set to do all the menial work, and, worst of all, disarmed and left 
over to the mercies of their Moslem comrades, who managed to 
kill a few hundreds altogether in various parts. It became evident 
that the Government was bent on the systematic destruction of 
the Armenian population. A feeling of despondency seized hold 
of all. 

When Turkey went into the war the distress of the people 
reached an even higher pitch, especially when the Government 
armed all the males of the Moslem population between the ages 
of 15 and 60 and gave up Christian villages to fire and sword 
at the slightest pretext. Pelou, the largest village of the Kavash 
district, was reduced to a heap of ruins. Twelve villages in the 
Gargar district, on the Persian frontier, Bashkala, and Sarai, 
with the Nestorian and Armenian villages round, were ruthlessly 
wiped out after the Russian retreat*, and of their population only 
a few old crippled women were left as survivors. News of this 
sort was constantly being brought to the town by refugees from 
distant places like Boghaz-Kessen, Hazaren, Nordoz, &c. This 
pouring in of the refugees aggravated the problem of living in the 
city of Van. 

On the other hand, the three leaders of the former Revolu- 
tionary Party called Dashnagists, who since the proclamation of 
the Constitution had been changed into a political party and had 
come to an understanding with the Young Turks, exhorted the 
people to endure in silence. Better, they said, that some villages 
be burned and destroyed unavenged than give the slightest pretext 
to the Moslems for a general massacre. One of the first villages 
to defend itself "was Bairak, whose inhabitants succeeded in 
keeping the soldiers and Kurdish mob from entering the village. 
The Turkish Government sent a peace commission composed of 
Armenians and Turks to quiet down matters there, which was done. 

♦ The Russians had made a preliminary incursion over the border 
after the Turkish declaration of war. — Editor. 



[16] 



MR. RUSHDOUNI. 



49 



At the same time a message was sent to the Governor-General, 
Djevdet Bey, a brother-in-law of Enver Pasha, then on the border, 
to come to Van. Djevdet Bey, on his arrival, demanded 4,000* 
soldiers from the Armenians. The Armenians were so anxious 
to keep the peace that they promised to accede to this demand 
under an altered form approved by the Government. But at 
this juncture trouble broke out between Armenians and Turks in 
the Shadakh region. Some say that this was started at the 
instigation of Djevdet Bey. This Governor had requested Ishkan, 
one of the three Dashnagist leaders, to go there as peace com- 
missioner, accompanied by three other notable Armenians. On 
their way there, however, on Friday, the 16th April, all four were 
treacherously murdered. 

The Armenians now felt that they could not trust the Governor, 
and, instead of giving him the 4,000 men, they told him they would 
give 400 and pay the exemption tax for the rest, in instalments. 
In the meantime they asked the American missionaries. Dr. 
Ussher and Mr. Yarrow, and the Italian agent Signor Sbordone, 
to try to mollify the Governor. The attitude of the Governor was 
wavering. At times he would be moderate and swear that peace 
would be kept. At other times he was ha.rsh and irreconcilable, 
declaring that he intended to put down " rebellion " at all costs. 
First he would punish Shadakh, then he would attend to Van ; 
if the rebels fired one shot it would be a signal for him to attack, 
and neither Turks nor Armenians would be left in the Vilayet. f 

Things continued in this suspense till the 20thJ April, when 
some Turkish soldiers tried to seize some village women on their 
. way to the city. The women fled. Two Armenians came up and 
asked the Turks what they were doing. The Turkish soldiers 
fired on the Armenians and killed them. This served as a signal. 
The booming of cannons and rattle of rifles began from every side, 
and it was realised that the Armenian quarter was besieged. In 
the evening houses in the Armenian quarter could be seen burning 
in every direction. The Governor-General had sworn that not a 
single house should be left in Van, except the one where his father 
had lived as Governor-General. Under the command of Armenag 
Yegarian, of the Ramgavar Party, the Armenians ^ nearly 30,000 
in number now, began to man and barricade houses and open 
trenches. Eighty such barricaded positions, called in Armenian 
" teerks," were held by the Armenians, and the enclosed area of 
about two square miles was gradually connected in between by 

* Miss Knapp gives the number as 3,000 (Doc. 15). 

t Miss Knapp makes the following observation at this point : — 

" The fact cannot be too strongly emphasised that there was no 
' rebellion.' As already pointed out, the Revolutionists meant to keep 
the peace if it lay in their power to do so. But for some time past a 
line of Turkish entrenchments had been secretly drawn round the Armenian 
quarter of the Gardens. The Revolutionists, determined to sell their 
lives as dearly as possible, prepared a defensive lii\e of entreAchmenta,"' 

X At 6.0 a.m. (Miss Knapp). 



50 



VAN. 



deep trenches. To assure regularity, a Provisional Government 
was set up, and a military court was appointed to deal with military 
affairs. Everyone capable of doing something, male or female, 
young or old, was set to work. Women and girls were busy 
cooking, mending, sewing, making bedding for homeless refugees 
and soldiers, and nursing wounded people and motherless children. 
About 1,300* young men were under arms day and night 
trying to hold the enemy at bay. Lads were employed as 
messengers between the " teerks." The rest of the men were used 
as workmen to dig trenches and build new walls and barricades, 
as the old ones crumbled before the cannon-fire. About 16,000 
cannon-shots were fired at the handful of inhabitants in the old 
city under the Castle Rock. 

After some days, refugees began to pour in from near and far.f 
The Government had not succeeded in besieging the eastern side 
of the Armenian quarter, and it was still possible to enter the city. 
On the 16th May no less than 12,000 bread-tickets were issued to 
refugees. At the same time, owing to privation and exposure, an 
epidemic of measles broke out among the children, and dysentery 
and pneumonia among the adults, and many who had escaped the 
sword of the Moslem fell victims to disease. 

As the supply of ammunition was very meagre and the 
intention of the Armenians was to prolong their defence till help 
might come from Armenian volunteers, they were very sparing 
in its use. They used pistols when they could, and employed all 
kinds of devices to draw the fire of the enemy and waste his 
ammunition. At the same time they began to devise means of 
making bullets and cartridges, and manufacturing smokeless 
gunpowder and bombs, and succeeded in turning out daily 4,000:]: 
cartridges, and even in making three mortars for throwing bombs 
and bursting shells. In the meantime the Provisional Government 
issued strict orders for keeping the neutrality of foreign institutions 
and premises, forbidding armed men to pass through these parts 
or carry the wounded Armenian soldiers to the American Mission 
Hospital. A manifesto was also sent to the Turks to the effect 
that the quarrel was with one man, Djevdet Bey, not with their 
Turkish neighbours. Governors come and go, but^the two races 
must continue to five together. Gradually, however, the 

* " About 1,500 trained riflemen possessing only about 300 rifles." (Miss 
Knapp) . 

t "A man escaping from Ardjish related the fate of that town, second 
in size and importance to Van in the Vilayet. The Kaimakam had called 
the men of all the guilds together on the 19th April, and as he had always 
been friendly to the Armenians they trusted him. When they had all 
gathered, he had them mown down by his soldiers. Many of the village 
refugees had stopped short of the city, at the little village of Shushantz, on 
the' mountain side near the city. Here Aram bade them remain. On the 
8th May, we saw the place in flames, and Varak Monastery near by, with 
its priceless'ancient manuscripts, also went up in smoke. These villagers 
now flocked into the city.'* (Miss Knapp). 

i^2,000, (Miss Knapp). 

[163 



MR. RUSHDOUNI. 



51 



Armenians succeeded in ousting the Turks from their positions. 
On the 17th May, after nearly four weeks' resistance, it became 
obvious thatv the enemy was putting forward his last efforts. 

At sunset ^a daring dash put to flight the remaining Turkish 
soldiers in the two northern barracks on Toprak-Kale Hill and 
below. These two barracks were at once burnt. About midnight 
another attack put the southern great barracks in Armenian 
hands, and these, too, were set on fire. Towards morning the 
news spread that the Turks and soldiers had left the city. It was 
understood that the Government, on hearing of the approach of 
the Russian army and the Armenian volunteers, had ordered a 
systematic retreat some days before, and the last regiment, with 
the Governor, had evacuated the town on the night of the 18th 
May. Immediately hungry and starved peojDle rushed toward 
the Turkish quarters to satisfy their feelings of justice by plunder- 
ing and burning. Shortly after, news came that the Russian army, 
with Armenian volunteers, was in sight. The joy of the people 
was boundless ; tears of gladness and of emotion for what they 
had suffered during the past month, rolled down their cheeks as 
they made them welcome. The keys of the captured city and of 
the castle were immediately taken and laid at the feet of the 
Russian General, who gave orders to the Armenians to organise 
a Provisional Government for the affairs of the town. 



[16] 



52 



VAN. 



17. VAN : NARRATIVE BY MR. Y. K. RUSHDOUNI, PUBLISHED 
SERIALLY IN THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL GOTCHNAG," OF 
NEW YORK. 

Van is a city built on a level plain, and has at the present 
time an area of about ten or twelve square miles. 

The Old City is small (scarcely a single square mile in area) ; 
its centre is the market place and an ancient rock fortress. The 
real Van is the Aikesdan (the Vineyards), which rises slowly 
towards the East on an imposing scale. In Aikesdan each house, 
with few exceptions, has a vineyard and a garden. Its streets 
are broad and tree-Hned. On each side of these trees run small 
rivulets, which are bordered by rows of willow and poplar trees. 
Van is in reality a beautiful, extensive and attractive garden. 
On its western side, about two or three miles distant, there 
stretches the beautiful blue lake of Van, surrounded by high, 
snow-clad mountains, the most prominent of which are Sipan, 
Nimroud, Kerkour and Azadk. 

On the eastern side of Van rise the mountains of Varak, on 
the slopes of which stand the village of Shoushantz (named after 
Shoushanig, the daughter of Sennacherib), and also the famous 
monastery of Varak, with its seven altars, where Khrimean Hairik 
published his " Ardsouig Vaspouragani " (" The Eagle of Vas- 
pouragan "). On the slopes of these mountains are also found the 
monasteries of Garmeror and St. Gregory, the chapel of St. 
Lousavorich (The Illuminator), and Gatnaghpur, Khachaghpur, 
Salnabad and Abaranchan, fountains of historical fame. There 
are also the Upper Varak villages — the historic summer resorts 
of Sultan Yailassi and Keshish Gol. 

On the north side of Van there is the ancient and famous 
Toprak-Kale (Earthern Fort). Again in the same direction are 
the villages of Shahbagh and Araless, behind which extends the 
district of Van-Dosb. 

On the southern side of the city, beyond the hills of Artamid, 
one reaches the Valley of Haig ; Vostan, the capital of Rush- 
dounik ; and the mountains of Ardosr, with the tomb of Yeghishe 
on their slopes. 

The Armenian and the Turkish quarters in Van were divided, 
and, except for a few streets, were all at some distance from each 
other. These two elements in the population had no relations with 
^ each other except those of a commercial nature. The Market 
and the Old City were in the hands of the Armenians, but were 
surrounded by Turkish quarters. There were Armenian houses 
which were eight miles away from the market-place, and to go 
there and back it was necessary to pass through the Turkish 
quarters. The Armenians covered this distance on foot, horse- 
back or spring-wagons — these being the only means of trans- 
portation. 

The day after war had been declared by Germany against 
Russia, Turkey declared a " state of war " in Van, and called 

[17] 



MR. RUSHDOUNL 



53 



all the young men between 21 and 45 to the colours, without 
distinction of race or reUgion. For the needs of the Army the 
Government requisitioned all the goods and provisions in the 
Market. In some cases they made partial payments, but after- 
wards they gave promissory notes to all the owners, which were 
payable after the war. This was a heavy loss to the Armenians, 
as the whole Market was practically in their hands. They lost 
all their petroleum, sugar, raisins, soap, copper, European clothing 
and various other commodities, besides almost haK their remain- 
ing goods. 

Owing to the sudden declaration of war and the requisitioning 
of the Market, it was impossible for the Armenians to transfer 
their goods elsewhere or to hide them, especially as the Market 
was an hour-and-a-half's distance from the Armenian quarters of 
Aikesdan. 

All the tradesmen, shopkeepers, farmers and men of all 
vocations immediately answered the call to arms. A crowd 
gathered in front of the Government Building in such a way 
that it was impossible to keep order. There were some people 
who waited for three days continuously, from morning till night, 
and were unable to get a chance to register their names. The 
Dashnakist party encouraged the Armenians to do their duty 
faithfully as citizens. Mr. Aram, one of their leaders, collected 
together 350 to 400 fine young men, and, to the accompaniment 
of Turkish music, songs and dances, led them to the Government 
Building to register. The Government officials were considerably 
surprised at this wilUngness on the part of the Armenians ; they 
held them up as an example in upbraiding the Turks, and par- 
ticularly the Kurds, who had answered the call very reluctantly. 

The Government treated the Armenians very hberally, 
exempting all the Gregorian and Protestant teachers of 25 years 
of age, and allowing them to continue their schools, on the con- 
dition that they would all go to the Government Building and 
register, so that in case of necessity they might be called up as 
mihtia for the protection of the City. 

During the first two weeks this impartial treatment by the 
Turkish Government filled the Armenians with gladness and 
trust, and the Armenian soldiers that had deserted returned and 
gave themselves up. The only thing which gave rise to anxiety 
was the financial crisis. Trade and farming had completely 
stopped. The merchants were robbed, and all the traders were 
in the hands of the Government. It was the time to prepare 
for the annual taking of stock, but there were no available means. 

Under the pretence of supplying the needs of the Army, the 
Government confiscated all the provisions. This was the first 
symptom of injustice and partiahty. The understanding was 
that every man would be entitled to buy a certain amount of 
food and wood after informing the Government of the number 
and needs of his family, and after obtaining permission from them, 

[17] 



S4 



VAN. 



and that every month those families whose men were on active 
service would receive 30 piastres (5s.) per head. 

At this time the Armenians' claims were very often ignored ; 
and because the Government was aware that the Armenians 
would not, whatever happened, go hungry and without clothing 
or wood for fuel, it collected from all the Armenian quarters and 
villages, in the form of a heavy tax, a certain quantity of wheat, 
wood, sheep, fat, and clothing. In addition the majority of the 
Armenian and Syrian soldiers were left without arms and clothing, 
and very often without anything to eat, under the pretence that 
the clothing and the arms were not yet ready, and that they 
had no means of transporting food in so short a time. This 
caused the desertion of many from the Army, and some remained 
away altogether. Others borrowed money and asked the Govern- 
ment, through influential oflicials, to be allowed to pay exemption 
money, and it seems that the Government also was trying to 
find a means to come to an understanding with the Armenians. 
It therefore published a special notice announcing that all the 
non-Moslems above 26 years of age would be exempted from the 
Army by payment of a special fee. The Armenians sold every- 
thing to pay the Government, that they might profit by this 
occasion. The period of exemption was extended by the Govern- 
ment to the following spring. 

It is worth mentioning here that, according to the Turkish 
officials, there were about the same number of deserters among 
the Turks and Kurds, but they never paid as much exemption 
money as the Armenians did. 

The Government sided with the Germans even when they were 
neutral, whereas the Armenians — unfortunately — sympathised 
with the AUies. But even then no special injustice was done. 
The Government showed kindness to the Armenians, at least 
on the surface, while the Governor, Tahsin Pasha, had such close 
relations with the leaders of the Dashnakist party that people 
thought he was their special friend. Besides this, it was arranged 
that two Armenian Members of the Ottoman ParHament who 
were the representatives of Van, Messrs. Vahan Papazian and 
Vremyan, should stay with the people to keep them and the 
Government on good terms with one another. 

After the entry of the Turks into the war, however, the 
situation assumed a diifferent aspect. The Government began 
to adopt a cold and suspicious attitude towards the Armenians, 
who had performed their duty towards the Government to the 
best of their abihty, and even after the abolition of the " Capitu- 
lations " had joined the Turks in their celebrations of the event. 
In spite of all this, the coolness between them was very marked, and 
this became especially apparent after it was found that the 
Armenians had supphed volunteers to the Russians, and that they 
were the very troops who had occupied Bayazid. It was then 
reported that all the Kurdish tribes had gone over to the side of the 

[173 



MR. RUSHDOUNI. 



55 



Russians and had caused great prejudice to the Turks. This terrified 
the Turks to such a degree that many rich women went to the 
American missionary ladies of Van to ask their protection, saying : 
" We are not afraid of the Russians as much as we are of the 
Kurds." But the unfortunate part was that, in Government 
circles, the dominant topic of conversation was the Armenian 
Volunteers. 

It was before this that Tahsin Bey summoned the heads of 
the Dashnaldsts (the heads of the Hunchakists were already in 
prison) and pointed out to them that the Armenians had begun 
a volunteer movement, and that this movement would be 
dangerous to them ; and afterwards in a special letter he suggested 
to them, and especially to Mr. Vremyan, that they should write 
to the heads of the Dashnakists of Bayazid and stop this move- 
ment. This letter v/as sent to Mr. Toros, the head of the Dash- 
nakists of Ardjish, but Mr. Toros was killed by a Turkish gen- 
darme. At the same time it was stated that the Turkish Govern- 
ment had made special overtures to the Dashnakists and proposed 
that they should form bands of chettis composed of Turks and 
Armenians and raid Caucasia, but I do not know how it happened 
that this was refused by the Armenians*. 

A short time after the Turks intervened in the war, all the 
Armenians in the Turkish Army were disarmed and employed as 
ordinary labourers. The arms of the Armenian gendarmes in 
the local districts were taken and given to the Turks, while the 
latter were left free on the understanding that they would be 
called up, though this never actually took place. This general 
disarming filled the Armenians with fear and suspicion. Those 
of the disarmed Armenians who found means of escape, deserted, 
and some whom I knew personally were sent back by the officials. 

Turkey had not yet declared war, but she was mobihsing 
her forces, when the members of the Armenian Reform Com- 
mittee came to Van with M. Hoff, the Inspector-General. The 
Government did not carry out the plan, which was prepared and 
announced to the Armenians, for receiving the Inspector-General 
and his party with pomp and ceremony, but they sent them to 
the beautiful little village of Artamid on the southern side of 
the city, situated on the shore of Lake Van. After they had 
stayed there a few days they were sent back again, carrying with 
them the scheme of Armenian Reforms. 

Shortly after Turkey had declared war, Tahsin Pasha was 
called to Erzeroum, and in his place Djevdet Bey, the brother- 
in-law of Enver Pasha, was selected as Governor for Van. 

About the end of the autumn, when the Russian Army had 
annihilated the Turkish Army on the Persian border, had taken 
Bashkale and Sarai, and was moving towards Van, there was a 
violent panic among the Turkish officers and general pubhc. 
Many of the officers sold their property and transferred their 

families by boats to Bit lis. Other prominent families, hke the 

__________ 

[17] a 



56 



VAN. 



Hamoud-oglou — who had done great harm to the Armenians — 
took the same course. Among the rank and file those that were 
afraid addressed themselves to the Armenians, who received them 
very kindly. The object of the Armenians was to teach some 
dangerous officers a good lesson, but they had no intention 
whatever of harming the innocent officers and the Turkish pubUc. 

I met mfiny who said very plainly : " Here is a good oppor- 
{ unity for us to show our Turkish compatriots and neighbours 
that we Armenians never harboured any bad intentions towards 
them, but had always demanded simply a state of equaUty, 
which would be beneficial to all who wished to live a peaceful 
life." 

At the time when the Turkish army was annihilated on the 
Persian border, and there was not even the miUtia in Van and 
less than 400 gendarmes between Van and Bitlis, it would have 
been very easy for the Armenians to occupy the greater part of 
the provinces of Van and Moush, if they had wanted to revolt and 
masssacre the Turks (who were in fear of their fives) or do what 
the Turks had done in the past to the " Giaours " (" Infidels "). 

The Government knew this, and for this reason treated the 
Armenians very flatteringly. The Armenian people was thankful 
to be able to live without fear and to have friendly and sincere 
relations with their Turkish neighbours. The Dashnakist Partj^ 
also, who had been in close touch with the Government, were 
content with this situation, and were satisfied now that the 
Government considered them of importance and asked their 
advice on the welfare of the " Vatan " (Fatherland). 

Unfortunately this state of affairs was of short duration. 
Suddenly the Russian army retreated. The different fragments 
of the Turkish Army raUied again, and instead of pursuing the 
enemy, they exterminated the Armenian and Syrian population 
of Bashkale, Sarai and all the surrounding villages. They had 
massacred all the male population, and in certain places — accord- 
ing to the reports of a Turkish commander who was a Russian 
subject — had thrown them into wells. The most beautiful of the 
women had been distributed among the Moslems, and some of 
them were even sent to Van ; the old and weak women who 
remained were collected together and driven to various places 
like a herd of cattle. The Armenian Bishop of Van sent a Turco- 
Armenian delegation to the Government to ask its help for the 
sufferers, but the Government entirely ignored the request, or 
postponed it from day to day. 

The Governor of Van went to the front, leaving an assistant 
in his place, and by his patriotic exertions he re-organised the 
Turkish Army. He succeeded in winning to the side of the 
Turks the rebellious Kurds and even Smgo the Chief, who Hved 
under Russian protection. This news was immediately tele- 
graphed to Van and Constantinople. Djevdet Bey, the lion general 
of the Turks, with his reorganised army, followed the Russians 

[17] 



MR. RUSHDOUNI. 



57 



up to Tabriz, and occupied it. It is unnecessary to repeat that 
the Turkish Army, wherever it went, carried with it fire and 
sword and all kinds of terrible tortures, which were inflicted upon 
the "Infidels.'' Regarding this, the American missionaries are 
the best informed eye-witnesses. 

Owing to these Turkish successes on the frontier and the 
Armenian volunteer movements, the Government and the Turkish 
pubhc changed their attitude towards the Armenians. The 
Government was more civil in its demands and asked all the 
deserters to appear before it, although without actually promising 
them arms and their restoration to the Army. To all questions 
concerning this, the answer was : " That is for us to decide." 
The war taxes were doubled, and to all the petitions and objec- 
tions regarding this, the answer was : " The Army is more im- 
portant than the populace." 

The Government began now not to attach much importance 
to their friends the Dashnakists, and there was a time when the 
Assistant Governor refused even to receive Mr. Vremyan in 
audience, saying : "I cannot stand his rudeness and blustering." 

A Uttle distance from Van all the country places Uke Nordouz, 
Hazaren and Boghaz-Kessen were destroyed. Part of the inhabi- 
tants were massacred, others found refuge in Van, and the remainder 
altogether disappeared. The horrors spread to the other districts 
and villages round Van. Garjgan was evacuated ; the village 
of Pelou, which had 120 houses, and the ten villages of Gargar 
were sacked. 

In a semi-civiUsed country it is an easy matter for a Govern- 
ment to find pretexts for its acts, when the Governor so desires. 
For instance, in Pelou a drunken young man had a fight with a 
gendarme, pulled out his revolver and killed him. In the moun- 
tains above the village of Shoushantz, six Kurdish deserters were 
killed — but none of the authorities ascertained by whom they 
were killed, or who they were. These and similar events gave 
cause and pretext to the Turkish Government for censuring the 
Armenians. But no one was censured for the massacres and 
general unrest at Sarai, Bashkale, Nordouz, Hazaren and Boghaz- 
Kessen. Then new army corps and machine guns were brought 
up to Van to be transferred to the frontier ; all the Turkish and 
Kurdish citizens from 15 to 60 years of age were armed with 
these weapons, and when the Armenian Bishop protested to the 
Government, the answer was : " We are arming them to organise 
them into mihtia ; after a little while we will collect them all 
and put them into barracks. If the Armenians are also wilUng 
to volunteer and come to the barracks, let them come and we will 
give them arms." 

After the events at Pelou and Gargar, it was reported that a 
Turkish mob from BitHs had devastated the district of Garjgan 
with fire and sword, and was advancing on Kavash and Haiotz- 
Tzor, and that after destroying these places they would proceed 

[17] 0x2 



58 



VAN. 



towards Van. Upon the arrival of this report, some Dashna- 
kists went out towards Ankegh and Antanan in Haiotz-Tzor 
and destroyed the bridge near Ankegh, to prevent the Turks 
sending help to the mob which was advancing from Biths, and 
also to stop the mob from marching upon Van. After this the 
Armenians also killed a few gendarmes and Kurds. Among those 
killed was reported to be the Judge of Vostan. As far as I remem- 
ber, seven persons were killed at this time. This event caused 
fear among the Turks and Kurds. The Government therefore 
sent IMr. Vremyan as a mediator. Mr. Vremyan settled the 
question, putting the blame on the Kaimakam of Vostan, who 
had sent for the mob from Biths. The Government superseded 
the Kaimakam of Vostan and promised to find and return the 
booty from Pelou and to restore the people who were deported 
to their homes. This was never done. An Armenian proverb 
says that " A thief is afraid of himself," and the Turks also were 
afraid of themselves on account of what they had done. While 
travelHng through Haiotz-Tzor and Kavash they assumed 
Armenian names. Yet the officials, whenever they got a chance, 
protested to foreigners that the Armenians were ungrateful, 
that they furnished volunteers to the Russians, and wanted 
autonomy ; " And therefore," they said, " we will not leave 
this country to them. Let the Russians take the country, but 
we refuse to let the Armenians rule over our families and our 
kin." It is unnecessary to add that there were as many Moslem 
volunteers as Armenian in the Russian forces. 

The Turkish Government was very prudent. So long as it 
was weak it flattered the Armenians and praised them to their 
faces ; the leaders of the Dashnakists, Vremyan, Aram and 
Ishkhan, were treated as advisers of the Government. The 
Armenians on their part tried not to be the cause of any 
disturbance in the country. The only ground for anxiety in 
the relations between the Government and the Armenians 
was the question of the Armenian deserters. After the 
Armenian soldiers were disarmed, they did not dare to remain 
in their posts, and used to desert. When it was discovered 
that the Turkish Government had armed all the male 
Mohammedans from 14 to 60 j^ears of age, they were no longer 
willing to give themselves up, and decided to die with their wives 
and children. A few Turkish officials confessed that it was 
wrong to disarm the Armenians because there were more Kurdish 
deserters than Armenian, but the Government refrained from 
attaching as much blame to the Kurds as they did to the 
Armenians. 

To consider all these problems, a meeting was called under the 
presidency of Yeznig Vartabed, the Assistant of the Bishop, in 
whi?h all sections of the Armenian population of Van were repre- 
sented. The meeting was held at the house of Kevork Agha 
Jidajian, and came to the following conclusions : That the 

[17] 



MR. RUSHDOUNI. 



59 



Turkish Government was treating the Armenians with suspicion ; 
that all work, trade, and farming had stopped ; that certain 
districts such as Nordouz, Gargar and Garjgan had been cleared 
of their inhabitants, and that the Armenians of Sarai and Bash- 
kale had been annihilated when the Russian army retreated ; 
finally, that in case of a revolution the Armenians at Van would 
be able to hold out for some time, but that, taking into consider- 
ation the whole of Armenia, it was necessary to maintain peace 
with the Turks at all costs. 

As certain deserters could not give themselves up at the 
moment for important reasons, they decided to ask the Govern- 
ment to accept exemption money for them. The meeting 
decided to negotiate on these lines through Mr. Vremyan as their 
Deputy, with Avedis Effendi Terzibashian as an adviser ex- 
perienced in Turkish psychology. The meeting also proposed 
to open negotiations through some merchants on similar lines. 
A week later the Armenians held a joint conference with the Turks 
at Jidajian's house. At this conference they decided to live 
together as neighbours without taking account of any changes 
of policy in the Government. The Turks promised to ask the 
Government not to give any cause for revolution. 

However, the situation was far from being satisfactory, and 
unrest was in the air. All the workmen were working for the 
Government ; the tradesmen would go to their shops, hear rumours, 
and go home again, to stay at home for four or five days ; and 
the attitude of the Government kept changing Hke a weathercock, 
in conformity with the successes or failures at the front. Some- 
times it was very severe and unreasonable, and sometimes very 
smooth and peaceful. Everyone was uneasy, as they did not 
know how long such a situation would last. We were afraid of 
massacres. We were afraid of the retreating Turkish army, which 
would undoubtedly devastate everything on its way. We were 
afraid of famine, as the Government had not given the people a 
chance of provisioning themselves, and we knew that the villages 
and farms had been robbed. A part of the working class was in 
the army. The cattle and sheep belonging to the refugees had 
been confiscated and sold. Many people confided to me that they 
wished that whatever was going to happen would happen quickly 
and reheve them from their suspense. Meanwhile, the people of 
Van armed themselves, and kept secret watch day and night at 
different street corners, to be prepared for any eventuality. 

About the beginning of spring, rebellion started in the district 
of Van-Dosb, or Timar, a few hours' distance from Van. The 
inhabitants of the village of Erer in this district were massacred. 
When the turn came for the village of Bairak, the local Ar- 
menians defended themselves with the help of the Armenians in 
Van against the Kurds and the gendarmes. When the Govern- 
ment saw that people were getting ready and that things would 
drift from bad to worse, it went to the Bishop and expressed its 

[17] 



t)0 



VAN. 



regret for the events that had taken place, and asked the 
Armenians to send their representatives to stop the fighting at 
Bairak. This was immediately done. Some blamed the Vice- 
Go vernor, who had taken Djevdet's place, for these affrays. ]\lr. 
Vremyan and the Vice-Governor fell out, the Vice-Governor hav- 
ing refused to receive Mr. Vremyan in audience, but as Mr. 
Vremyan was a Deputy (Member of the Ottoman Parhament) he 
was allowed to remain in the district with the sanction of the 
Government. Mr. Vremj^an blamed the Vice-Governor for the 
situation, and sent a telegram to this effect to the Governor, 
Djevdet, who was at the front. Djevdet answered him thanking 
him, and asking him to preserve peace until his return, when he 
would put everything in order, " Inshallah " (" God wiUing "). 

It was the last week of Lent when Djevdet Bey reached Van 
with 400 trained soldiers, called Lez*, and a few field guns, and 
was received by the Armenians with royal honours ; but while 
passing through Armenian villages he shut his eyes to the bar- 
barous behaviour of his soldiers towards the Armenian women. 
In the new village of Upper Haiotz-Tzor a number of women 
A^ere violated, a man was killed, and others were beaten almost 
to death, on the pretence of having arms. For this, one of the 
young men wanted to follow Djevdet and kill him, but the 
Armenian revolutionists did not allow him to do so. As soon as 
Djevdet Bey reached the city, he thanked Vremyan and aU those 
who had done their best for the peace of the city, and started 
negotiating with the Armenians concerning the deserters. He 
persuaded the Armenians to give themselves up, or at least a 
certain part of them, so that he might have less difficulty in getting 
back the Turkish and Kurdish deserters. 

During Passion Week the negotiations with the Government 
were postponed on account of a terrible snowstorm. At this 
time there was an army of 4,000 with some artillery in Van. 
There was no special cause for anxiety, but everybody felt there 
was something in the air, which turned out to be the case. After 
Easter, when the negotiations were taken up again with the 
Government, it was rejjorted that there had been conflicts at 
Shadakh, The general impression was that the Government 
was behind it. The Government wanted to arrest a member of 
the Dashnakist party called Joseph. The Armenians would not 
allow him to be arrested, and that started the trouble. Shadakh 
is about 24 hours' journey from Van, towards the south, on one 
of the tributaries of the Tigris. During the massacres of 1895 
and 1896, the Armenians of Shadakh had succeeded in defending 
themselves with great success and honour. After that, the Govern- 
ment had wanted to trap the Arm.enians and massacre them, 
and fill their places with Kurds and Turks, but it was not success- 
ful, and now in April the massacres had started from there. The 
Uberty-loving Armenians of this place defended themselves 



♦ Of Lazic nationality (?) — Editor. 
[173 



MR. RUSHDOUNl. 



61 



bravely for about two months, until the end of May, when the 
Volunteers went to their assistance. 

Djevdet Bey asked the Dashnakists to send a delegate a,nd 
put a stop to these occurrences. The members of this deputa- 
tion were Mr. Ishkhan and three j^oung Armenians, a Turkish 
Prefect of PoUce, and a few gendarmes. On the evening of the 
16th April, in the Kurdish village of Hirj, the Armenian dele- 
gates were all assassinated — a trap laid by the Government. 
Some trustworthy people from Haiotz-Tzor (Armenian Valley) 
reported that the very day that Mr. Ishkhan was going to Shadakh 
as a peace delegate, the Armenians of Upper Plaiotz-Tzor came 
to him and said : " For how long shall we endure it ? They 
have not spared anything. There was only Shadakh left, and 
they massacred even the people of Shadakh." Mr. Ishkhan, who 
was a fighter by nature, had declared to the Armenian villagers 
that they must keep the peace at all costs, and had ordered them 
to give the Government everything that was asked for ; if one 
village was burnt, they were ordered to escape to another village. 

Here I would hke to explain in parenthesis the reason why I 
always mention the Dashnakist party. They were the people who 
were mixed up with poUtics ; they were the friends and advisers 
of the Young Turk Party, and, having formed a " bloc " with 
them, they always sided with the Turks in parliamentary con- 
flicts. The Government on their part wanted to keep them on 
their side, knowing that they had great influence over the villagers, 
in the Episcopal Court, and in the Chancery of the Catholics of 
Aghtamar. The Ramgavars (Democrats) were not ndxed up 
with poUtics. They had their own paper, " Van-Dosp," and were 
busy with their own propaganda and their own trade and teaching, 
only once in a while fighting against the Dashnakists. They 
did not, Hke the Dashnakists, have special members who gave aU 
their time to political affairs. The Hunchakists were very few 
in numiber, and during mobihsation their leaders, Messrs. Ar dashes 
Solakhian and Proudian, were arrested and afterwards Idlled. 

On Saturday morning, the 17th April, Djevdet Bey asked the 
following leaders of the Dashnakists — Messrs. Vremyan, Aram, 
Avedis Effendi Terzibashian (a merchant), and Kevork Agha 
Jidajian — to visit him for a conference. Aram could not go, for 
one reason or another ; the others went and were retained. 
After that it was reported that all those that went as peace dele- 
gates were killed by the Government. This started a panic 
among the Armenians, and young men under arms took up special 
positions. Father Nerses of the New Church, Set Effendi Kapa • 
majian and myself went to the American missionaries to ask them 
to intercede with the Government on our behalf to maintain 
peace. Before the missionaries had reached the Government 
Building, Terzibashian and Jidajian were freed, so that they could 
advise the Armenians to go and surrender, but Vremyan was kept 
to be sent to Constantinople. Djevdet Bey told the missionaries 

[17] 



62 



VAN. 



that he had akeady sent for them. He also added that, 
as the peace of the country was disturbed, the American mission- 
aries must make room for 50 soldiers for their own protection. 
If they could not do that, then they must all go to the Government 
Building, with their whole households. The missionaries came 
back with the impression that everything was over, and that 
Djevdet Bey had changed altogether. The same night the 
Armenians had a meeting in the New Church, where Terzibashian 
Effendi told them what Djevdet Bey had said and communicated 
to them the result of the negotiations. He said that it was 
impossible to influence Djevdet ; sometimes he was quite reason- 
able, and at other times he was harsh and immovable and wanted 
all the deserters to surrender either that day or the following, 
and all the Armenians to give up their arms. Again it was 
decided to ask him to accept part of the deserters and receive 
exemption money for the rest. Signor Sbordone (the agent of 
the Itahan Consul), the American missionaries and the Armenian 
merchants made proposals to Djevdet Bey to this effect, but 
they were unable to find out what his intentions were. Sometimes 
he declared on oath that he would not bring dishonour on his 
father, Tahir Pasha, who ruled over Van in peace during a time 
of great disturbances, and sometimes in a fury he would say : 
" There Avill either be nothing but Turks or nothing but Armenians 
left in this city. After I have finished Shadakh I will overthrow 
Van. I will not leave a single house standing except the house 
of my father. I will not spare either male or female, youth or 
old age. The Armenians must give up their arms and their 
deserters, and they must pass in front of my window to go to 
the barracks. If I hear the report of a gun or revolver, I will 
consider that a signal to carry out what I have just told you." 

On Monday, the 19th April, Djevdet Bey was in a sUghtly 
different mood. He issued an order for everybody to go about 
their business, saying that nothing would happen. We had 
been isolated for a whole week from the districts outside the town 
and were ignorant as to what was going on there, and we did not 
even know that w^e were surrounded by Turkish trenches and 
troops. On the very day that Djevdet Bey told us that " All 
was well," Agantz, a big town in the district of Van, was sacked 
and ruined. Prominent inhabitants of Agantz, Hke Abaghtzian, 
Housian and Shaljian, were invited to go to the Government 
Building to receive orders from the Kaimakam. The other 
Armenians were collected from the streets and from their houses. 
At night, after dark, they took these men in groups of fifty with 
their hands tied behind their backs, brought them to the river 
bank at the back of the city, and there killed them all. Only 
three were able to unloose their hands and escape at night, after 
pretending to be dead. One of them went to an Armenian village 
near by and was the cause of this village's escape ; another of 
them went to the boats that were on the shore and saw that most 



[17] 



MR. RUSHDOUNI. 



63 



of the sailors had been killed, but told the rest about it, who there- 
upon launched their boats into the open lake and rowed for the 
Monastery Island. The third disappeared altogether. 

Haroutune Agha Housian was wounded in three places, but 
escaped to his home. When the Turkish officers counted the 
wounded, however, they found, by their hst, that Mr. Housian 
was missing, and when they found him in his house they killed 
him. All the male inhabitants of Agantz were killed except these 
three, and, by the permission of the Government, the Armenian 
households — that is, the women and children and property — -were 
divided among the Turks. In order to secure their property, 
the Turks betrothed themselves to Armenian girls and women, 
with the intention of marrying them. 

Djevdet Bey announced to everybody that Asayish ber 
Kemal der " (" Peace was perfect "), and at the same time he 
put pressure on the American missionaries either to sign a state- 
ment that they had refused the protection of the Government, or 
agree to accept a guard of 50 soldiers for the missionary compound. 
He laid more emphasis on this latter proposition, saying that he 
would send the same number of soldiers to the German mis- 
sionaries. The American missionaries were so considerate as to 
ask the advice of the Armenians, and the latter, especially Mr. 
Armenag Yegarian, saw in the proposal a plot to seize the 
Armenian quarters and homes. Accordingly they made the 
missionaries understand that the only thing which would protect 
them would be the American flag and the order of the Government, 
and that, even if 5,000 soldiers were there, it would be impossible to 
be protected against the Government. With this in view, they 
told the missionaries that, if Djevdet sent more than 10 or 12 
soldiers, they would be obhged to open fire on them and would 
not let one into the Armenian quarters. Taking all these points 
into consideration, the missionaries informed the Government 
that they were willing to accept as many soldiers as the Govern- 
ment sent them, but that they would not be responsible for their 
safe arrival and were very unwilhng to start a conflict on that 
account. " We are not afraid of the Armenians," they said, 
" and we think that 10 or 12 soldiers and an order from you will 
be sufficient to protect us." 

On Tuesday morning, the 20th April, at six o'clock, some 
Turkish soldiers saw a few Armenian women coming to the city 
from the village of Shoushantz, half-an-hour's distance from Van. 
They attempted to violate them, and when two Armenian young 
men went to remonstrate with the Turkish soldiers, the latter 
opened fire on them and killed them. This was not very far 
from the German Mission, and the Principal of the German 
missionaries, Herr Sporri, and his wife witnessed this incident. 
He also was kind enough to write explicitly to Djevdet, stating 
that it was the Turkish soldiers who attempted to violate the 

[17] 



64 



VAN. 



women and then killed the Armenian young men who had tried 
to save the women's honour. 

But Djevdet had received his signal, and as soon as the reports 
were heard from Ourpat Arou (where the women had been 
violated), artillery fire was opened upon the Armenian quarters of 
Aikesdan, and was also turned upon the inhabitants of the 
Market-place, which was surrounded by Turkish quarters. 

Then we understood that we were really surrounded, and so 
the armed Armenian young men held the street corners and did 
not allow the Turkish or Kurdish mobs to enter. The Armenian 
lines protected an area of about two square miles, which was 
held by 700 Armenians, 300 only of whom had regular arms and 
a certain amount of miUtary training. The others were simply 
civiHans who had revolvers and a few ordinary weapons. All 
the fighters had decided to fight to the bitter end in defence of 
their famihes. 

Even the American missionaries confessed that they could 
not conceive how a Government could display such meanness 
and treachery towards citizens who had been so faithful in their 
duties. It is important to mention that the sympathies of the 
American missionaries had been with the Armenians at all times. 
They not only opened the doors of their compounds and houses, 
but also placed families and property in security, and began to 
give their personal services to the sick and the children. 

All the people of Van, without exception, began to work with 
one soul. Those who had arms and were able to fight rushed to 
take their stand and stop the Turks from entering the Armenian 
quarters, and those who were able to work took spade and shovel 
to go and strengthen the fighting men's positions by constructing 
trenches and walls. The fit tie boys worked as scouts, the women 
and girls undertook the care of the sick and the children. Besides 
that, the women did all the sewing and cooking for the fighters. 

With the object of caring for the wounded, a Red Cross detach- 
ment was raised with the assistance of Dr. Sanfani (Khosrov 
Chetjian) and Dr. Khatchig. To secure law and order, a local 
Government was formed, with judicial, pohce and sanitary 
branches. Its administration was conducted in perfect order the 
whole month through. The Americans said that Van had never 
had such a good Government under the Turkish rule. An end was 
put to revolutionary disputes ; only such expressions as 
" Armenian soldier," " Armenian Self-defence Committee " and 
the like were heard ; and they named their positions " Deve 
Bojd," " Dardanelles," " Sahag Bey's Dug-out," and so on. 

For the better organisation of the defending forces they 
appointed a miUtary council, which was formed of the repre- 
sentatives of the revolutionary parties and the non-party 
Armenians, and which carried on the work very successfully. 
This body was in communication with the lines and suppHed 
soldiers wherever and whenever it was necessary. The Supply 

[17] 



MR. RUSHDOUNI. 



65 



Committee also did good work in supplying food and beds for 
those who were working in the different stations. Under the 
presidency of Bedros Bey Mozian, the ex -Mayor of Van, and with 
the leadership of Mr. Yarrow, they formed a Rehef Society whose 
object was to collect suppHes and provide the necessaries of hfe 
for those who were destitute and had lost their homes. This 
committee was a great assista^nce to the fighting forces. 

One of the local papers began to publish the news of the fighting 
and distribute it to the people. The Normal School band, under 
the leadership of Mr. K. Boujikanian, played Armenian miHtary 
airs, the " Marseillaise," and other tunes, to hearten the fighters. 
The greater the intensity of the Turkish artillery fire and the 
louder the roar of the guns, the louder the band played, and this 
made Djevdet more furious than the bullets of the Armenians ; 
he did not even restrain himself from expressing his feelings in 
his bulletins. 

During the first days of the fighting, the Military Com- 
mittee, by special bulletin, made a pubhc appeal to the Turks, 
reminding them of their pledges to one another, and proclaiming 
that Governments change but the people alw^ays remain neigh- 
bours, and that there was no reason why they should be at enmity 
with one another. By this they put the whole of the blame on 
Djevdet, who possessed nothing else in Van but a horse, " and 
he could ride off on that and escape." After making this point, 
the proclamation suggested to the Turkish inhabitants that they 
should force Djevdet to desist from the bloodshed. I do not 
know the result of this announcement. 

The Mihtary Committee also gave orders to the Armenian 
soldiers not to drink, not to blaspheme the religion of the enemy, 
to spare women, children and unarmed men, to respect neutrals, 
and to prevent anyone from entering their compounds under arms. 
They also ordered that all the wounded should be taken to the 
American Hospital, and that only true reports should be given. 

During these dark days the Armenian people were very full 
of hfe. Everybody did his or her best. They all had good hope 
that Djevdet would not succeed in annihilating the Armenians 
of Van. The spirit of the fighters was enough to inspire those 
that were in despair. I have seen young men who had fought 
the enemy day and night, without sleeping. Their eyesight 
had been so affected that they were practically bhnd, and they 
were transferred to the Red Cross Station to be treated. Even 
then they were very cheerful. While the shrapnel was raining 
upon Van, the Armenian children were playing soldiers in the 
streets. 

Armenag Yegarian, with his cool and able leadership ; Aram , 
with his constant presence and advice ; P. Terlemezian, with his 
great heart ; Krikor of Bulgaria, with his indefatigable industry 
and inventive genius — they were very able leaders. To save their 
lives and honour all the Armenians of Van had placed their services 

[17] 



66 



VAN. 



at the disposal of the Military Council, who awarded crosses and 
medals to encourage those who were worthy of them. I was 
present when a little girl received one of these medals. During 
the retaldng of a position in Angous Tzor she bravely went ahead, 
spied out the ground and brought back news that the Turks had 
laid no traps for the advancing Armenian soldiers. 

From the very first day of the fighting the Turks burned all 
the Armenian houses that were outside the Armenian fighting 
zone, but the village of Shoushantz and Varak Monastery were 
still in the hands of the Armenians. Mr. H. Kouyoumjian was 
in charge of the entrenchments at Varak, and he came down to 
Aikesdan once in a while to report everything that was going 
on there. 

After a week all the Armenians in the surrounding country 
came in to Aikesdan by way of Varak and Shoushantz, bringing 
with them famine, sickness and terrible news. Those that came 
from Haiotz-Tzor (Armenian Valley) reported that two Turkish 
armies had passed through the Armenian villages with artillery. 
The first army paid for everything that they took, and the people 
were encouraged by this act to issue from their retreats, but the 
second army surrounded them and massacred them. The Govern- 
ment carried out its work on such a well-planned system that 
villages were massacred without having had warning of the fate 
of their neighbours only a mile away. All the inhabitants of the 
villages that surrendered were massacred. There were villages 
that succeeded in removing their people and taking them to the 
mountains, but in general we must confess that the villagers 
did not prove very brave. They were not able to co-operate for 
their common defence, and there were even some who did not 
like to oppose the Government. In comparison with the city 
people they were short of ammunition, and they managed to 
convoy their families into the city by simply firing in the air, 
which was one of the reasons w^hy the city people rather looked 
down on them. But the fact is that if they had had enough 
ammunition and the right leaders, they v/ould have been able 
very easily to drive the enemy out of Haiotz-Tzor, Kavash and 
Tamar. 

During the first two weeks the Government massacred the 
men and had all the women kidnapped, and deported the remainder 
from village to village to give the Turkish population a chance of 
wreaking their vengeance. But afterwards, in order to strike 
at the defensive powers of Van and to -starve the Armenians 
into surrender by making them use up their provisions, they 
collected all the survivors from the villages and sent them to 
Aikesdan and to the city proper. The people in the city refused 
to pass anybody through the lines of defence ; the enemy there- 
fore sent them to Aikesdan, telling them that those who returned 
would be shot. The people of Aikesdan recognised their terrible 
straits and took them in ; there were a large number of wounded 

[17] 



MR. RUSHDOUNI. 



67 



among the women and children. I saw a woman from the village 
of Eremer, whose husband was serving in the Turkish army and 
whose twelve-year-old boy was slain before her eyes. She was 
wounded herself, as well as her two remaining children, one four 
years and the other eleven months old. I shall never forget the 
drooping look of the httle one and the wounded arm that hung by 
his side, nor the w^oman herself, who was almost mad. All these 
were given over to Dr. Ussher, who treated them immediately. I 
also remember a woman who had lost seven of her children and had 
gone out of her mind. She lay on the ground clutching her hair. 
She threw dust on her head and cursed the Kaiser all the time. 

The American Hospital, which could accommodate only 50 
patients, had 150 sick, and they were obliged to fill every available 
place with the wounded. Scarlet fever, whooping cough and 
smallpox carried off many of the Uttle ones. 

Besides the fighting and w^orldng forces, we had to supply 
food for about 13,000 people. At the beginning it was possible 
to give one loaf of bread to each individual every day, but after- 
wards we were obhged to cut it down to half a loaf, supplemented 
with other food. All the oxen and cows in the city viere slaughtered, 
and when we had lost all hope of procuring cattle from outside 
there were even people who suggested kiUing the dogs. The lack 
of ammunition was also severely felt, so that in Aikesdan for 
every thousand rounds fired by the Turks the Armenians could 
only reph^ with one. 

After a few^ days the Turks occupied the positions of Shou- 
shantz and Varak, and burned the hbrary of old manuscripts at 
Varak Monastery. All the Armenians and Sj^rians from these 
occupied villages came over to the city and consequently increased 
the famine and plague. Up to this time women between 65 and 
70 years old carried letters backwards and forwards between 
Djevdet and the Austrian banker Ahgardi, Signor Sbordone, and 
the German and American missionaries. These women carried 
a white flag in one hand and the letter in the other, and passed 
to and fro in safety, with the exception of one who was shot by 
the Turks because she was unfortunate enough to fall down and 
lose the flag, and another one who was wounded by the Turks. 
Djevdet tried to discourage the Armenians by descriptions of 
Turkish successes, and also suggested that they should give up 
their arms and receive a complete amnesty, like the people of 
Diyarbekir. In a letter addressed to ]\Ir. Ahgardi, the Austrian, 
he wrote : " Dear Aligardi, Ishim yok, keifim tchok " ("I have 
nothing to do but amuse myself "). In another, addressed to 
Dr. Ussher, he said : "I mil parade the prisoners and guns I 
have taken from the Russians in front of His Majesty Dr. Ussher's 
fort, so that he may see and beheve." 

But the Armenians did not let Djevdet do as he pleased. 
They severed communications and did not aUow any more letters 
to pass through the fines. Then, under the direction of Professor 

[17] 



68 



VAN. 



M. Minassian, they succeeded in making smokeless powder, 
cartridges and three guns, whose reports were heard with great 
rejoicings b}^ all the Armenians. They made about 2,000 cartridges 
a day, and the blacksmiths made spears, so that, if necessary, 
they could fight with spears when the ammunition was all gone. 
The Armenians also dug underground passages, through which 
they blew up certain Turkish barracks and entrenchments. 

Thus they burned and destroyed the great stone barracks of 
Hamoud Agha ; the Telegraph and Police Station of Khatch 
Poghotz (Cross Street) ; half the police station of Arar, and the 
English Consulate, which was one of the chief Turkish strong- 
holds. This encouraged the Armenians a great deal, so that 
there was a time when Djevdet was obhged to send 500 soldiers 
against a position held by only 44 Armenians, who after fighting 
for three or four hours left 33 dead on the field and retired. A 
young man called Borouzanjian, the only son of his widowed 
mother and the support of his orphan sisters, resigned his post 
as hospital orderly and went to fight in the trenches. He killed 
four Turkish soldiers and was finally killed himself. He praised 
God while djdng that he had done his duty, and asked his comrades 
to sell his revolver and other personal belongings and to give the 
proceeds of them to his mother, so that she could live on them 
for a little while. 

During this time they sent word to the Armenian Volunteers 
in Russia, asking them to come to their aid. 

When the villagers came to Aikesdan and thus increased the 
number of labourers and fighters, the trenches were elaborated 
and increased in number, so that they now covered two square 
miles. When the Turkish artillerymen destroj^ed one line they 
found a second fortified Une at the back, which was stronger than 
the first. Besides this, the Armenians had organised a body of 
cavalr}', so that they could send help in all directions. Not only 
Aikesdan was defended with success, but also the city proper and 
Shadakh. The Americans, seeing the spirit of the Armenians, 
declared that it would not be far wrong to say that this beat 
Marathon. 

The Turkish soldiers were good shots, especially the artillery- 
men, who could direct their shrapnel by accurate sighting upon 
the desired point. Who could imagine that their commanders 
were civihsed and Christian Germans ! This fact became known 
to the Armenians after the fall of Van. 

On the 9th and 10th May we saw the white sails of boats 
on the Lake of Van. Without heeding the flying bullets, the 
people flocked on to high ground to watch them. We did not 
know whether they were some of the Turkish population or 
officers who were escaping. They continued the shooting until 
next morning. After the 10th May the fighting became more 
intense, both during the daytime and at night, and on the 15th 
and 16th May the guns were directed upon the American 

[17] 



MR. RUSHDOUNI. 



69 



Institutions, where all the people were. Although during the whole 
period of fighting they had fired upon the American compound, 
the Hospital, the Church and Dr. Ussher's home, and wounded 
thirteen people, it was only during the last two days that the 
bombardment was confined to the compound alone. It was then 
that a bomb struck Dr. Raynold's house and killed Mr. Terzi- 
bashian's three-and-a-half-years-old daughter. 

On the evening of the 17th May the Armenians succeeded in 
destroying the upper and lower barracks of Toprak Kale, which 
raised their spirits vastly ; but in the evening the joy of the 
Americans surpassed that of the Armenians. About midnight, 
in a strong attack, the Armenians seized and burned the largest 
Turkish barracks, Hadji Bekir's Kushla, which dominated the 
American compound. At midnight the town criers went through 
the town crying victory : " We have taken all the Turkish 
positions ; they have run away : come out." On this report 
the Armenians, especially those who were in a starving condition, 
came out and attacked the Turkish quarters to rob and burn 
them. The revenge of centuries was being taken. The 
Arm onian soldiers did not participate in this movement for twenty- 
four I: ours, but held their positions so that the enemy might not 
take [hem by surprise. The booty that the people took from the 
Turks consisted mostly of wheat, flour and bread. 

I asked one of the villagers to show me her booty. She did 
so, and I was surprised to see that it consisted of clothing that 
the Turks had robbed from Armenian women and girls. They 
found in the house of Mouhib Effendi, a member of the Ottoman 
ParKament, a chalice and other sacred vessels from an Armenian 
Church. The Turks were in such a panic that some left their 
tables laid and took to flight. The hungry women of yesterday 
were carrying away booty without stopping, with a new strength. 
It was the story of the seventh chapter of the Fourth Book of 
Kings that was repeated word for word. The American com- 
pound was now deserted except for the boy scouts, who, with the 
help of one of our teachers and Neville Ussher, remained to look 
after the sick. 

The whole city was in an uproar. Some went to look at the 
entrenchments ; others went to look at the burned Turkish 
quarters, and others to look at the booty. There were others 
also who visited the fortress, which was captured that same 
night, and over which a flag with a Cross on it was waving. No 
Government was left, no authority. The soldiers had marked out 
their position from Arark to Khatch Poghotz as a mihtary centre. 
They took away all the valuable vessels and property from the 
people. They were afraid that there would be fighting, but 
fortunately nothing happened. In Aikesdan there were still 
armed Turks in certain positions, who killed some Armenians, 
but they were finall}^ found and lulled. It was very pitiful to see 
Armenian soldiers leading Turkish women and children and 

[17] 



70 



VAN. MR. RUSHDOUNL 



unarmed men to the American compound for safety, and saying 
to them : " Do not cry ; nothing will happen to you ; we are only 
looking for Djevdet, who destroyed both your homes and ours." 
Nobody touched these Turkish women, some of whom had from 
£30 to £95 (Turkish) on their persons. Some of the Armenians 
went to look for their wounded in the Turkish hospitals, and 
when they did not find them they were so infuriated that they 
killed some of the Turkish wounded and burned the building. 
Mr. Yarrow asked me to go and wait there until he came. I 
stayed there. The scene was dreadful. For four days the 
Government had given them no bread and no care, so that many 
of them had already died from neglect. Interspersed among the 
dead there were also some still living, but the Armenians did not 
raise their hands to touch them. Before the arrival of the 
Americans, many came and helped me to put out the fire and 
attended to those that were alive. Mr. Yarrow, seeing all this, 
said : "I am amazed at the self-control of the Armenians, for 
though the Turks did not spare a single wounded Armenian, the 
Armenians are helping us to save the Turks — a thing that I do 
not believe even Europeans would do." 

The scene in the prison was dreadful, as all the Armenian 
prisoners had been massacred. The wife of Mr. Proudian had 
completely lost her reason, and cried out : " Show me at least 
the bones of my dear one." The unveiling of these dreadful 
deeds of the Turks so hardened some of the Armenians that they 
followed the doctrine of "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a 
tooth," to the great sorrow of the others. 



1171 



VAN. GERMAN MISSIONARY. 



71 



18. VAN AFTER THE TURKISH RETREAT : LETTER FROM HERR 
SPdRRI, OF THE GERMAN MISSION AT VAN, PUBLISHED IN 
THE GERMAN JOURNAL "SONNENAUFGANG," OCTOBER, 1915. 

There lies Artamid before us, adorned by its delicious gardens ; 
but how does the village look ? The greater part of it is nothing 
now but a heap of ruins. We talked there with three of our former 
orphan protegees, who had had fearful experiences during the 
recent events . W e rode on across the mountain of Artamid. Even in 
time of peace one crosses the pass with one's heart in one's mouth, 
because the Kurds ply their robber trade there. Now it is all un- 
cannily still. Our glance swept over the magnificent valley of 
Haiotz-Tzor. There lay Antananz before us, now utterly destroyed 
hke the rest. We gave shelter, at the time, to the people from 
Antananz who had managed to escape. Further on in the magnifi- 
cent green landscape lay Vostan. At first sight one might call it a 
paradise, but during these latter days it has also been a hell. What 
rivers of blood must have flowed there ; it was one of the chief 
strongholds of the armed Kurds. At the foot of the mountain we 
came to Angegh. There again there were many houses destroyed. 
We found here a young woman who, after many years of widowhood, 
had married a native of the village. Things have been going 
well with her ; now her husband, too, was slaughtered. One 
hundred and thirty people are said to have been murdered thus. 
We pitched our camp here in face of the blackened ruins. 
Straight in front of us stood an " amrodz," a tower built of cakes 
of manure — a common enough sight in these parts. We were 
told that the Kurds had burnt the corpses of the slaughtered 
Armenians in it. Horrible ! And yet that is at least better than 
if the corpses of the slain, as has happened in other places, are 
allowed to he for an indefinite period unburied, so that they are 
devoured by dogs and poison the air. There we were met by 
some soldiers ; they were Armenian " Volunteers " who had come 
from Russia and were now fighting on the side of the Russians for 
the liberation of their Haiasdan. They were coming now from the 
neighbourhood of Biths, where heavy fighting was in progress. 
They had brought some sick back to the town, and proposed to 
rest here awhile. After that we rode on to Ten, where people we 
already knew came out to meet us from the village and informed us 
of what had happened there. There, too, the scenes of our former 
activity, the school and the church, lay in ruins, and many 
dwelling houses as well. The man who used to put us up was also 
among the slain ; his widow is still quite distraught. Here 
about 150 are said to have been murdered. There were so 
many orphans in the place, they said to us — Should we now be 
inclined to take charge of any again ? We were unable to give 
them any definite answer. As we rode on and on over the mountains, 
the splendid air did us much good and we thanked God for it, for 
little by little we have come to be in sore need of recuperation. 
We had a wonderful view from the mountain heights, but every- 
where in the villages one sees blackened and ruined houses. 

[18] 



72 



VAX. 



19. VAN AFTER THE MASSACRES : NARRATIVE OF MR. 
A. S. SAFRASTIAN, DATED VAN, 2nd DECEMBER, 1915, AND 
PUBLISHED IN THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL "ARARAT" OF 
LONDON, JANUARY, 1916. 

" I have seen the ravages of the Crimean war, the Russo- 
Turkish war of 1877-78, the Armenian massacres of 1894r-96, 
and the reign of terror which then followed until the year 
1914 ; but the massacres which have been going on since 
April of the current year are simply appaUing, and by far 
the most terrible blow which the Armenian nation has ever 
been subject to throughout the course of its long history." 

So spoke to me Hagop Boghossian, an old Armenian peasant 
of Van, a sturdy octogenarian who, after three forced flights from 
his home in the rear of the Russian Army, was once more returning 
to his home to tide over the winter in his native village north of 
Lake Van ; and as he was walking along the muddy pathway, 
he was telUng me the story of the recent massacres as he knew 
them, and as he understood them from his own point of view. 
His account in its main outline corresponds with what has been 
proved beyond all doubt. Before arousing any suspicion among 
the Armenians residing in the central provinces of Asiatic Turkey 
about its intentions, the Turkish Government wanted to dispose 
of the "rebeUious" Armenians of Van, which lay far away from 
its grip, and the Armenian element of which had generally been 
considered by the Turks as a doubtful quantity. One Djevdet 
Bey, a brother-in-law of Enver Pasha, happened to be the 
governor and the miUtary commander of Van. In February he 
was routed in the battle of DiUman and Khoi, in Azerbaijan, a 
battle in which the Armenian volunteers under Andranik played 
some part. When he returned to Van, he told his friends that 
while he was at the front he had to battle throughout the time 
against Armenians, both as regular troops of the Russian army 
and as volunteers. The report says that Enver Pasha, the 
Minister of War, expressed almost the same opinion when his 
army was defeated early in January in the battles of Sarikamysh 
and Ardahan. However exaggerated these estimates may have 
been, they seem to have served well the purpose of the Turkisli 
Government in its efforts to destroy the Armenian population 
within its territory ; and Djevdet Bey was commissioned to 
begin the massacres at Van, where the best relations existed 
between the Armenians under Vremyan, the Deputy for Van in 
the Turkish Chamber, and Djevdet himself, who for years had 
enjoyed the hospitaUty of the natives. 

On the 15th April the young Armenians of Akantz, north of 
Lake Van (Ardjish), were mustered by the gendarmes to the 
sound of the bugle, to hear the recital of an order which had 
just arrived from the Sultan. At sunset these 500 young men 
were shot outside the town without any formaUty. During the 
following two days the same process was carried out with heartless 

[19] 



MR. SAFRASTIAN. 



73 



and cold-blooded thoroughness in the 80 Armenian villages of 
Ardjish, Adiljevas, and the rest of the district north of Lake Van. 
In this manner some 24,000 Armenians were killed in three days, 
their young women carried awaj^ and their homes looted. 
After that, Djevdet Bey immediately proceeded to destroy the 
able-bodied Armenians on the south side of the Lake in the same 
way. Kurds were let loose upon the peasants of the Kazas of 
Moks and Shatakh, but there these hardy mountaineers proved 
somewhat hard nuts to crack.- They put up a stout resistance 
and frustrated the Turkish plan. 

In the town of Van itself the Armenians had already made 
all the concessions they possibly could to conciliate the Govern- 
ment in the matter of deserters from the army and the miUtary 
requisitions. Djevdet, however, demanded unconditional 
surrender ; he treacherously caused the death of four Armenian 
leaders, and detained Vremyan, who was killed later. These 
acts, in combination with the massacres of Ardjish, cleared up 
all doubts. The Turks had made up their minds to annihilate 
the Armenians by all the means in their power, as they had 
shown by kilUng thousands of absolutely innocent peasants in 
Ardjish. The experience of the past had taught the Armenians 
of Van that an appeal to arms was the only argument which 
could save their hfe, honour and property, and they collected 
together all the arms they possessed. From the middle of April 
they were besieged by a Turkish army of about 6,000 men, 
equipped with artillery and reinforced by numberless Kurds of all 
types . Twenty-five thousand Armenians of the town, who had only 
some 400 good rifles and double that number of arms of a medley 
character, fought for four weeks against great odds. They 
organised all their resources through an improvised staff and 
various committees for medical help and distribution of relief. 
They constructed some mortars and made smokeless powder to 
repel the furious Turkish attacks. Every man, woman and 
child did their bit to help in the work of liberation ; they held 
their positions to the last and captured several enemy positions 
by blowing up barracks in which the Turks had entrenched 
themselves in the middle of the Armenian quarters. After seeing 
something of their positions and walking over the scenes of the 
fight, one can well understand that it must have been a heroic 
battle indeed. The Turks under Djevdet despaired of over- 
coming Van and fled hastily at the approach of the Armenian 
volunteers followed by the Russian army. Van was captured 
by the Armenians, who saluted the entry of the Russian army 
by the booming of the guns they had taken from the Turks. 
An Armenian provisional government was established in the 
town and the province from early June. Excesses of an avenging 
nature could scarcely be avoided under the circumstances ; yet 
such excesses by no means overstepped the passion excited at 
the moment. 



[19] 



74 



VAN. 



During June and July, almost the entire Armenian population 
of Bitlis, Moush, Diyarbekir, and the remaining provinces of 
Turkish Armenia was ruthlessly massacred or deported. Of this 
unparalleled tragedy the later events at Van, which suffered the 
most lightly of all, may serve as an illustration. 

After two months of self-government in Van, the fortunes of 
war turned against the Armenians. Towards the end of July 
the Turks took the offensive on the Transcaucasian front. The 
Russians retreated from the Euphrates and Moush towards their 
own frontiers in order to counter-attack the enemy under more 
favourable conditions. But in this game of strategy, the quarter 
of a milHon Armenians of Van, Alashkerd, etc., the last remnant 
of the Armenian element in Eastern Turkey, had also to retreat 
towards the Russian frontier. Men, women and children, who 
had bravely defended themselves against the Turks, fled in a 
panic under the most adverse circumstances. There Avere no 
means of transport, except a few ox-carts, horses, donkeys and 
cows, and the distance to be traversed varied from 100 to 150 
miles through a waterless and trackless country ; while only a 
few hours' notice was given to the unsuspecting people to quit 
their homes, abandon all they possessed, and walk to Trans- 
caucasia. Every one burdened himself with some clothing and 
provisions, and, followed by exhausted women and children, 
walked for 10 days under the burning August sun, smothered in 
dust and overcome by thirst and fatigue. On the Bergri bridge 
(north of Lake Van) the rear of the caravan was attacked by 
mounted Kurds. A frightful panic ensued, in which women and 
girls threw themselves into the river Bendimahu, while others 
threw away their infants in the effort to escape, and entire 
famiHes were precipitated into the waters owing to the rush 
caused by the panic. The sick, the infirm, and hundreds of 
children were abandoned on the roadside, where they died in 
lingering agony or were massacred by the Kurds. 

On my way to Van along the north-eastern shore of the Lake, 
I witnessed revolting evidence of the recent events. Several 
search parties had already buried the dead and cleared the 
ground ; nevertheless, here and there I saw remains of human 
bodies, of men and women, under piles of stones or scattered 
about the roadside. I discovered decomposing and horribly 
disfigured bodies of children ; and on the shores of the lake and 
on the banks of streams skeletons, pieces of clothing, bones of 
human beings and animals lying all around. The stench of 
putrefaction was simply sickening. The country from Igdir to 
Van had indeed been a slaughter-house but a few months before. 
Entire villages had been completely wiped out. Except for some 
casual travellers, not a single human soul was to be seen there — 
there were but vultures and howhng dogs who fed upon the 
putrefied human remains. 



[19] 



MR. SAFRASTIAN. 



75 



The town of Van itself is mostly a heap of ruins. Since last 
August it has changed hands several times ; all churches, schools 
and the best houses have been burnt down. The pulse of life 
seemed to have ceased from beating, where a few months ago the 
natives had turned it into a beehive after capturing it from the 
Turk. On the other hand, the remnant of the Armenians from 
Turkey is being greatly diminished owing to destitution and 
sickness across the borders of Transcaucasia. The whole country 
is devastated beyond any description. Perhaps nowhere on the 
European battlefields has the civil population been so sorely 
tried as in the Armenian highlands, and no race has suffered so 
much as the Armenians in Asiatic Turkey. At present only some 
200,000 of them can be accounted for ; and these are dying by 
hundreds in Transcaucasia in consequence of the terrible sufferings 
they have gone through since last spring. 



119] 



76 



VA .V. 



20. VAN : INTERVIEW WITH A REFUGEE, MRS. GAZARIAN, 
PUBLISHED IN THE "PIONEER PRESS," OP ST. PAUL, 
MINNESOTA, U.S.A. 

A story of the flight of terror-stricken Armenians from the 
citj' of Van, from the persecution of the Turks who massacred 
thousands of Armenian women and children and forced the men 
hito their armies, was told last night by Mrs. Sylvia Gazarian. 
She has just arrived from Armenia after suffering great hardships 
and persecution during a journey through Russia, and is with her 
son, Levon Gazarian, a North St. Paul piano builder. 

Mrs. Gazarian during her flight saw her husband die of 
typhoid fever, and left seven of her grandchildren lying along 
the roadside, victims of starvation and exhaustion. Her son 
Edward, a Red Cross surgeon, made the journey with Mrs. 
Gazarian. He is at his brother's home here. 

Mrs. Gazarian founded the Christian school at Van, and 
devoted many years to educating Armenian children. Her 
story, which is perhaps the first uncensored news of the cruelties 
inflicted by the Turks in Armenia, was told through Arsen K. 
Nakashian, an interpreter : — 

" I spent a month in Van while our school was the target of 
the Turks. I saw them kill, burn and persecute," she said. " I 
saw our town become a part of a baY-ren waste. I saw Turks 
bury Armenian victims with the dogs, divide the women among 
them as wives and throw babies into the lake. The school was 
burned, the missionaries fled, and 35,000 of the 75,000 inhabitants 
of the Van district were killed or starved to death. 

" Djevdet Bey, Governor-General of Van, started the whole 
trouble when, early in April, 1915, he demanded that the 
Armenians should support the Turkish army. 

" When the Armenians resisted, Djevdet Bey ordered them 
to be shot. He demanded that we and the American and 
German missionaries should leave Van and seek protection from 
the Turkish Government. We all refused. Our valley had been 
a garden. The Turks did their worst to make it a morgue. 

" For miles around the Armenians congregated at Van, drove 
out the Turks and made trenches. Stones, earth and sand-bags 
were piled over the school buildings. The Turks attacked, and 
for more than a month in April and May kept up a steady fire. 

" Finally the Russians came. We were under their protection 
for a month. The Turks, fleeing before the Russians, killed all 
Armenian prisoners and wounded. 

" Russian treachery became evident when they evacuated 
the town. They pillaged every standing home. When we 
demanded that they should stay and protect us, the general 
said : ' If you don't want us to leave you, come along.' 

" Only old men and feeble women refused the invitation. 
Fifteen grandchildren of mine, three daughters and their husbands, 
my son and myself made up our forlorn party. We travelled 

[20] 



MRS. GAZARIAN. 



77 



towards Russia on foot. There was no other way to go. We 
walked for twelve days — like dead men and women. As far 
ahead as we could see, there were women carrying or dragging 
their babies and wounded men staggering along at their sides. 
Death was common. 

" First one and then another of the children died. Typhoid 
was doing its work everywhere. We buried the babies where 
we happened to be. Seven of them in all died on the journey. 
When we arrived at Tifiis my husband died. 

" More than a month ago my son and I started for Northern 
Russia. Round the Caucasus mountains, across the Russian 
steppes and into Moscow, where the Russian troops were assembled 
in thousands, we went by train. 

Every Russian official wanted money, and we paid. We 
reached Archangel on the Arctic ocean and started for America." 

Just as the woman finished her story her son Edward came in. 

" Germany is responsible for the cruelty in Armenia," he 
declared : She is not a friend but an enemy of Turkey. She 
covets the Dardanelles. She aims at making Turkey a German 
province ; but she knows the power of the Armenians, and she 
wants Turkey without them. That is why she permits the Turks 
to burn, murder and ravage. The young Turks are educated 
criminals. They are worse than the older ones. America is 
beautiful and peaceful. We will always live here." 



m 



III. 



VILAYET OF BITLIS. 

The Vilayet of Bitlis lies due west of Van, across the Lake. 
The chief Armenian centres in the province were the town of Bitlis 
itself, commanding the principal pass leading from the lake-basin 
to the upper valley of the Tigris ; the town and villages of Moush, 
situated in the only considerable plain along the course of the Moiirad 
Su or Eastern Euphrates ; and the semi-independent highland 
community of Sassoun, a group of Armenian villages in the massif 
of mountains which separates Moush from the headwaters of the 
Tigris and the lowlands of Diyarbekir. 

The extermination of the Armenians in these three places was 
an act of revenge for the successful resistance of the Armenians at 
Van and the advance of the Russian forces to their relief. There 
was no pretence here of deportation, and the Armenians were 
destroyed, without regard for appearances, by outright massacre^ 
accompanied in many cases by torture. 



80 



NORTH-EASTERN VILAYETS 



21. THE NORTH-EASTERN VILAYETS : STATEMENT COM- 
MUNICATED BY THE REFUGEE ROUPEN, OP SASSOUN, TO THE 
ARMENIAN COMMUNITY AT MOSCOW ; PUBLISHED IN THE 
RUSSIAN PRESS, AND SUBSEQUENTLY REPRINTED IN THE 
" GAZETTE DE LAUSANNE." 13th FEBRUARY. 1916. 

At the beginning of the European war, the Dashnakt- 
zoutioun" Party met in congress at Erzeroum in order to decide 
on the attitude to be observed by the Party. As soon as they 
heard of this congress, the Young Turks hastened to send their 
representatives to Erzeroum to propose that the Party should 
declare its intention of aiding and defending Turkey, by 
organising an insurrection in the Caucasus in the event of a 
declaration of war between Turkey and Russia. According to- 
the project of the Young Turks, the Armenians were to pledge 
themselves to form legions of volunteers and to send them to 
the Caucasus with the Turkish propagandists, to prepare the 
way there for the insurrection. 

The Young Turk representatives had already brought their 
propagandists with them' to Erzeroum — 27 individuals of Persian, 
Turkish, Lesghian and Circassian nationaUty. Their chief was 
Emir Hechmat, who is at present organising bands of rebels at 
Hamadan (Persia). The Turks tried to persuade the Armenians 
that the Caucasian insurrection was inevitable ; that very shortly 
the Tatars, Georgians and mountaineers would revolt, and that 
the Armenians would consequently be obUged to follow them. 

They even sketched the future map of the Caucasus. 

The Turks offered to the Georgians the provinces of Koutais 
and of Tiflis, the Batoum district and a part of the province of 
Trebizond ; to the Tatars, Shousha, the mountain country as far 
as Vladivkavkaz, Bakou, and a part of the province of Ehsavetpol ; 
to the Armenians they offered Kars, the province of Erivan, a 
part of Ehsavetpol, a fragment of the province of Erzeroum, Van 
and Biths. According to the Young Turk scheme, all these 
groups were to become autonomous under a Turkish protectorate. 
The Erzeroum Congress refused these proposals, and advised the 
Young Turks not to hurl themselves into the European con- 
flagration — a dangerous adventure which would lead Turkey to 
ruin. 

The Young Turks were irritated by this advice. 

" This is treason ! " cried Boukhar-ed-Din-Shakir, one of the 
delegates from Constantinople : " You take sides with Russia 
in a moment as critical as this ; you refuse to defend the Govern- 
ment ; you forget that you are enjoying its hospitality ! " 

But the Armenians held to their decision. 

Once more before the outbreak of war between Russia and 
Turkey, the Young Turks tried to obtain the Armenians' support. 
This time they opened their pourparlers with more moderate 
proposals, and negotiated with the Armenian representatives of 
each Vilayet, At Van, the pourparlers were conducted by the 

[211 



ROUPEN OF SASSOUN. 



81 



provincial governor Tahsin Bey, and by Nadji Bey ; at Moush, 
by Servet Bey and Iskhan Bey (this latter is at present a prisoner 
of war in Russia) ; at Erzeroum, by the same Tahsin Bey and 
by others. 

The project of an Armenian rising in the Caucasus was 
abandoned. Instead, the Ottoman Armenians were to unite 
themselves with the Transcaucasian Tatars, whose insurrection 
was, according to the Young Turks, a certaint3^ 

Once more the Armenians refused. 

From the moment war broke out, the Armenian soldiers had 
presented themselves for service at their regimental depots, but 
they refused categorically to form irregular bands. On the whole, 
up to the end of 1914, the situation in Armenia was quiet. But 
when the Turks had been expelled from Bayazid and driven back 
in the direction of Van and Moush, their fury turned upon the 
Armenians, whose co-religionists in the Caucasus had formed . 
themselves into volunteer legions under the leadership of 
Andranik and other patriotic leaders, and had been giving aid 
to the enemy. 

It was then that the disarming of Armenian soldiers, gen- 
darmes and members of the other services began. The disarmed 
Armenian soldiers were formed into groups of a thousand each, 
and sent into different districts to build bridges, dig trenches 
and work at the fortresses. 

At the same time the wholesale massacres began. The first 
victims fell at Diyarbekir, Erzeroum and Bitlis. Soldiers, 
women and children, both in the towns and villages, were 
slaughtered en masse. By the end of last January the massacres 
had extended over the whole of Armenia. In the Armenian 
villages, the whole male population above the age of twelve was 
led out in batches and shot before the eyes of the women and 
children. 

The first movement of revolt declared itself towards the 
beginning of February, at Koms. Seventy Turkish gendarmes 
had arrived there with orders to massacre the chief men of the 
place, and among them Roupen and Gorioun. When . the 
Armenians learned their purpose, they threw themselves upon 
the gendarmes and killed them all. They proceeded to take the 
local governor prisoner, and found on him the following order 
from the governor of Moush : — 

"Execute the decision communicated verbally to you." 

On the same day the leading Armenians retired into the 
mountains, where they were joined by the young men under 
arms from the district of Moush. 

Two thousand Turks, commanded by Mehmed Effendi, took 
the offensive against them, but were annihilated by the 
Armenians. 

This was how the revolt in Armenia began. 

The Government saw that the insurrection was 8prQa,ding, 

[21] 



82 



NORTH-EASTERN VILAYETS. 



and announced the suspension of the process of disarmament, 
rescinding at the same time the order for the deportation and 
extermination of the people of Sassoun. A commission of 
enquiry was appointed, consisting of Essad Pasha, the Kaimakam 
of Boulanik, the President of the MiHtary Tribunal at Moush, 
and Mr. V. Papazian, an Armenian member of the Ottoman 
ParUament. 

The commission found that the gendarmes were the whole 
cause of the trouble between the Armenians and the Turks, and 
the Government promised to put an end to the reprisals. Talaat 
Bey telegraphed from Constantinople that the representatives 
of the Armenians were not to be molested. 

Quiet was re-established for the moment, but in the month 
of May the Turks attempted to force their way into Sassoun, 
and at the same time the massacres began again without warning 
at Harpout, Erzeroum and Diyarbekir. The Armenians repulsed 
the Turks and took up a position round the town of Moush, where 
a large number of Turkish troops were concentrated. This was 
the situation when the Turks perpetrated the great massacre of 
Moush at the end of June. Half the inhabitants of Moush were 
massacred, the other half were driven out of the town. The 
Armenians never knew that at that moment the Russian troops 
were only two or three hours' distance from IMoush. 

The massacres extended over the whole plain of Moush. 
The Armenians, who had managed to retreat on to the heights of 
Sassoun with a remnant of their forces and a slender supply of 
munitions, attacked the Turks in the vallej^s and gorges of 
Sassoun, and inflicted considerable losses upon them. A fraction 
of the Armenians who escaped the massacre broke through the 
Turkish hnes and reached Van, which was already in the hands of 
the Russian troops. 

The number of Armenian victims is very large. In the town 
of Moush alone, out of the 15,000 Armenian inhabitants there are 
only 200 survivors ; out of the 59,000 inhabitants of the plain 
hardly 9,000 have escaped. 



[21] 



ROUPEN OF SASSOUN. 



83 



22. BITLIS, MOUSH AND SASSOUN : RECORD OF AN INTERVIEW 
WITH ROUPEN, OF SASSOUN, BY MR. A. S. SAFRASTIAN ; 
DATED TIFLIS, 6th NOVEMBER, 1915. 

At the moment of writing, there is very little doubt that during 
the months of June and July last the Turks have almost com- 
pletely wiped out about 150,000 Armenians of Bitlis, Moush and 
Sassoun. 

When a detailed account of the horrors which accompanied 
these massacres is fully disclosed to the civilised world, it will 
stand out in all history as the greatest masterpiece of brutality 
ever committed, even by the Turk. A short description of these 
horrors was given to me by Roupen, one of the leaders in Sassoun, 
who has miraculously escaped the Turkish lines after long marches 
across Moush and Lake Van and has been here for the last few 
days. As soon as the Turks went into the war, they entered into 
negotiations with the Armenian leaders in Moush and Sassoun 
with a view to co-operating for the common defence. The Turkish 
representatives, however, laid down such conditions as a basis 
for agreement that the Armenians could scarcely entertain them 
as serious. Until January things had gone on fairly smoothly, 
and the Armenians were advised by their leaders to comply 
with all legitimate demands made by the authorities. On the 
failure of negotiations, the Turks adopted hard measures against 
the Armenians. They had already ruthlessly requisitioned 
every commodity they possibly could lay hands on, and now they 
demanded the surrender of their arms from the peasantry. The 
Armenians said that they could not give up their arms while the 
Kurds were left armed to the teeth and went about unmolested. 
Towards the end of January, a Turkish gendarme provoked a 
quarrel in Tzeronk, a large Armenian village some 20 miles west of 
Moush, where some 70 people were killed and the village destroyed. 
Soon afterwards, another quarrel was started by gendarmes in 
Koms (Goms), a village on the Euphrates, where the Turks wanted 
to raise forced labour for the transport of military supphes. As 
a previous batch of men employed on similar work had never 
returned home, the peasants grew suspicious and refused to go. 
Local passion ran high, and the Turks desired to arrest one 
Gorioun, a native of considerable bravery, who had avenged 
himself upon Mehmed Emin, a Kurdish brigand, who had ruined 
his home in the past. All such conflicts of a local character were 
settled in one way or another by negotiation between the 
authorities and the leaders of the Dashnaktzoutioun party. In 
the meantime, Kurdish irregulars and Moslem bands, who were 
just returning from the battle of Kilidj Geduk, where they had 
been roughly handled by the Russians, began to harry the 
Armenians all over the country to the limit of their endurance. 
In answer to protests, the authorities explained away the 
grievances and gave all assurances of good-will towards the 
Armenians, who naturally did not believe- in them. 

[22] 



84 



BITLIS, MOUSH AND SASSOUN. 



The Massacres at Sairt and Bitlis. — Towards the end of May, 
Djevdet Bey, the military governor, was expelled from Van, 
and the town was captured by the native Armenians* and then 
by the Russo -Armenian forces. Djevdet Bey fled southwards 
and, crossing the Bohtan, entered Sairt with some 8,000 soldiers 
whom he called " Butcher " battahons (Kassab Tabouri). He 
massacred most of the Christians of Sairt, though nothing is 
known of the details. On the best authority, however, it is 
reported that he ordered his soldiers to burn in a public square 
the Armenian Bishop Yeghishe Vartabed and the Chaldean Bishop 
i\.ddai Sher. Then Djevdet Bey, followed by the small army of 
HaUl Bey, marched on Biths towards the middle of June. 
Before his arrival, the Armenians and Kurds of BitUs had agreed 
upon a scheme for mutual protection in case of any emergency, 
but Djevdet Bey had his own plans for exterminating the 
Armenians. He first raised a ransom of £5,000 from them, and 
then hanged Hokhigian and some 20 other Armenian leaders, 
most of whom were attending the wounded in field hospitals. 
On the 25th June, the Turks surrounded the town of Bitlis and cut 
its communications with the neighbouring Armenian villages ; 
then most of the able-bodied men were taken away from their 
families by domiciliary visits. During the following few days, 
all the men under arrest were shot outside the town and buried 
in deep trenches dug by the victims themselves. The young 
women and children were distributed among the rabble, and the 
remainder, the " useless " lot, were driven to the south and are 
beUeved to have been drowned in the Tigris. Any attempts at 
resistance, however brave, were easily quelled by the regular troops. 
The recalcitrants, after firing their last cartridges, either took poison 
by whole families or destroyed themselves in their homes, in order 
not to fall into the hands of Turks. Some hundred Armenian 
famihes in the town, all of them artisans or skilled labourers 
badly needed by the mihtary authorities, were spared during this 
massacre, but since then there has been no news of their fate. 

It is in such " gentlemanly " fashion that the Turks disposed 
of about 15,000 Armenians at Bitlis ; and the Armenian peasantry 
of Rahva, Khoultig, and other populous villages of the surrounding 
district suffered the same fate. 

The Massacres in Moush. — Long before this horror had been 
perpetrated at Bitlis, the Turks and Kurds of Diyarbekir, followed 
by the most blood-thirsty tribes of Bekran and Belek, had wiped 
out the Armenians of Shvan, Bisherig, and of the vast plain extend- 
ing from Diyarbekir to the foot of the Sassoun block. Some 
thousands of refugees had escaped to Sassoun, as the only haven 
of safety amid a sea of widespread terror. They told the people 
of Sassoun and Moush of the enormities which had been com- 
mitted upon themselves. The line of conduct to be adopted by 
the Armenians was now obvious. The Turks were resolved to 



* See preceding section. 
[22] 



ROUFEN OF SASSOUN. 



85 



destroy them, and therefore they had to make the best of a hopeless 
situation by all means at their disposal. Roupen tells me that 
they had no news whatever as to the progress of the war on the 
Caucasian front, and that the Turks spread false news to mislead 
them. The general peace was maintained in the Province of 
BitHs until the beginning of June, when things came to a climax. 
The outlying villages of Boulanik and Moush had already been 
massacred in May. Now Sassoun was attacked in two main 
directions. The Kurdish tribes of Belek, Bekran, and Shego, 
the notorious Sheikh of Zilan and many others were armed by the 
Government and ordered to surround Sassoun. The 15,000 
Armenians of these mountains, re-inforced by some other 15,000 
from Moush and Diyarbekir, repelled many fierce attacks, in 
which the Kurds lost heavily, both in men and arms ; whereupon 
the Government again entered into negotiations with the Armenian 
leaders, through the Bishop of Moush, and offered them a general 
amnesty if they laid down their arms and joined in the defence of 
the common fatherland. And, as a proof of their genuineness, 
the authorities explained away the massacres of Slivan, Boulanik, 
&c., as due to a deplorable misunderstanding. Oppressions 
suddenly ceased everywhere, and perfect order prevailed in Moush 
for about three weeks in June. A strict watch, however, was kept 
over the movements of the Armenians, and they were forbidden 
to concentrate together. In the last week of June, one Kiazim 
Bey arrived from Erzeroum with at least 10,000 troops and 
mountain artillery to reinforce the garrison at Moush. The day 
after his arrival strong patrols were posted on the hills over- 
looking the town of Moush, thus cutting all communication 
between Moush and Sassoun. Kurdish bands of " fedais " and 
gendarmes were commissioned to sever all intercourse between 
various villages and the town of Moush, so that no one knew 
what was going on even in the immediate neighbourhood. 

Early in July, the authorities ordered the Armenians to 
surrender their arms, and pay a large money ransom. The leading 
Armenians of the town and the headmen of the villages were 
subjected to revolting tortures. Their finger nails and then their 
toe nails were forcibly extracted ; their teeth were knocked out, 
and in some cases their noses were whittled down, the victims being 
thus done to death under shocking, Ungering agonies. The female 
relatives of the victims who came to the rescue were outraged 
in pubhc before the very eyes of their mutilated husbands and 
brothers. The shrieks and death-cries of the victims filled the 
air, yet they did not move the Turkish beast. The same process 
of disarmament was carried out in the large Armenian villages 
of Khaskegh, Franknorshen, &c., and on the shghtest show of 
resistance men and women were done to death in the manner 
described above. On the 10th July, large contingents of troops, 
followed by bands of criminals released from the prisons, began to 
round up the able-bodied men from all the villages. In the 

[22] 



86 



BITLIS, MOUSH AND SASSOUN. 



100 villages ot the plain of Moush most of the villagers took up 
any arms they possessed and offered a desperate resistance in 
various favourable positions. In the natural order of things the 
ammunition soon gave out in most villages, and there followed 
what is perhaps one of the greatest crimes in all history. Those 
who had no arms and had done nothing against the authorities 
were herded into various camps and bayoneted in cold blood. 

In the town of Moush itself the Armenians, under the leader- 
ship of Gotoyan and others, entrenched themselves in the churches 
and stone -built houses and fought for four days in self-defence. 
The Turkish artillery, manned by German officers, made short 
work of all the Armenian positions. Every one of the Armenians, 
leaders as well as men, was killed fighting ; and when the silence of 
death reigned over the ruins of churches and the rest, the Moslem 
rabble made a descent upon the women and children and drove 
them out of the town into large camps which had already been 
prepared for the peasant women and children. The ghastly scenes 
which followed may indeed sound incredible, yet these reports 
have been confirmed from Russian sources beyond all doubt. 

The shortest method for disposing of the women and children 
concentrated in the various camps was to burn them. Fire was 
set to large wooden sheds in AHdjan, Megrakom, Khaskegh, 
and other Armenian villages, and these absolutely helpless women 
and children were roasted to death. Many went mad and threw 
their children away ; some knelt down and prayed amid the 
flames in which their bodies were burning ; others shrieked and 
cried for help which came from nowhere. And the executioners, 
who seem to have been unmoved by this unparalleled savagery, 
grasped infants by one leg and hurled them into the fire, calhng 
out to the burning mothers : " Here are your Hons." Turkish 
prisoners who had apparently witnessed some of these scenes were 
horrified and maddened at remembering the sight. They told the 
Russians that the stench of the burning human flesh permeated 
the air for many days after. 

Under present circumstances it is impossible to say how many 
Armenians, out of a population of 60,000 in the plain of Moush, 
are left alive ; the one fact which can be recorded at present is 
that now and then some survivors escape through the mountains 
and reach the Russian fines to give further details of the un- 
paralleled crime perpetrated in Moush during July. 

The Massacres in Sassoun. — While the " Butcher " battalions 
of Djevdet Bey and the regulars of Kiazim Bey were engaged in 
Bitfis and Moush, some cavalry were sent to Sassoun early in 
July to encourage the Kurds who had been defeated by the 
Armenians at the beginning of June. The Turkish cavalry 
invaded the lower valley of Sassoun and captured a few villages 
after stout fighting. In the meantime the reorganised Kurdish 
tribes attempted to close on Sassoun from the south, west, and 
north. During the last fortnight of July almost incessant fighting 

[22] 



ROUPEN OF SASSOUN, 



87 



went on, sometimes even during the night. On the whole, the 
Armenians held their own on all fronts and expelled the Kurds 
from their advanced positions. However, the people of Sassoun 
had other anxieties to worry about. The population had doubled 
since their brothers who had escaped from the plains had sought 
refuge in their mountains ; the millet crop of the last season had 
been a failure ; all honey, fruit, and other local produce had been 
consumed, and the people had been feeding on unsalted roast 
mutton (they had not even any salt to make the mutton more 
sustaining) ; finally, the ammunition was in no way sufficient for 
the requirements of heavy fighting. But the worst had yet to 
come. Kiazim Bey, after reducing the town and the plain of 
Moush, rushed his army to Sassoun for a new effort to overwhelm 
these brave mountaineers. Fighting was renewed on all fronts 
throughout the Sassoun district. Big guns made carnage among 
the Armenian ranks. Roupen tells me that Gorioun, Dikran, and 
20 other of their best fighters were killed by a single shell, which 
burst in their midst. Encouraged by the presence of guns, the 
cavalry and Kurds pushed on with relentless energy. 

The Armenians were compelled to abandon the outl3ring 
hnes of their defence and were retreating day by day into the 
heights of Antok, the central block of the mountains, some 
10,000 feet high. The non-combatant women and children and 
their large flocks of cattle greatly hampered the free movements 
of the defenders, whose number had already been reduced from 
3,000 to about half that figure. Terrible confusion prevailed 
during the Turkish attacks as well as the Armenian counter- 
attacks. Many of the Armenians smashed their rifles after firing 
the last cartridge and grasped their revolvers and daggers. The 
Turkish regulars and Kurds, amounting now to something like 
30,000 altogether, pushed higher and higher up the heights and 
surrounded the main Armenian position at close quarters. Then 
followed one of those desperate and heroic struggles for life which 
have always been the pride of mountaineers. Men, women and 
children fought with knives, scythes, stones, and anything else 
they could handle. They rolled blocks of stone down the steep 
slopes, killing many of the enemy. In a frightful hand-to-hand 
combat, women were seen thrusting their knives into the throats 
of Turks and thus accounting for many of them. On the 5th 
August, the last day of the fighting, the blood-stained rocks of 
Antok were captured by the Turks. The Armenian warriors of 
Sassoun, except those who had worked round to the rear of the 
Turks to attack them on their flanks, had died in battle. Several 
young women, who were in danger of falling into the Turks' 
hands, threw themselves from the rocks, some of them with their 
infants in their arms. The survivors have since been carrying on 
a guerilla warfare, living only on unsalted mutton and grass. 
The approaching winter may have disastrous consequences for 
the remnants of the Sassounli Armenians, because they have 
nothing to eat and no means of defending themselves. 

[22] I 



88 



MOUSH. 



23. MOUSH : STATEMENT BY A GERMAN EYE-WITNESS OF 
OCCURRENCES AT MOUSH ; COMMUNICATED BY THE 
AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF. 

Towards the end of October (1914), when the Turkish war 
began, the Turkish officials started to take everything they needed 
for the war from the Armenians. Their goods, their money, all was 
confiscated. Later on, every Turk was free to go to an Armenian 
shop and take out what he needed or thought he would hke to 
have. Only a tenth perhaps was really for the war, the rest 
was pure robbery. It was necessary to have food, &c., carried 
to the front, on the Caucasian frontier. For this purpose the 
Government sent out about 300 old Armenian men, many cripples 
amongst them, and boys not more than twelve years old, to carry 
the goods — a three weeks' journey from Moush to the Russian 
frontier. As every individual Armenian was robbed of everything 
he ever had, these poor people soon died of hunger and cold 
on the way. They had no clothes at all, for even these were 
stolen on the way. If out of these 300 Armenians thirty or forty 
returned, it was a marvel ; the rest were either beaten to death or 
died from the causes stated above. 

The winter was most severe in Moush ; the gendarmes were 
S3nt to levy high taxes, and as the Armenians had already given 
everything to the Turks, and were therefore powerless to pay these 
enormous taxes, they were beaten to death. The Armenians 
never defended themselves except when they saw the gendarmes 
ill-treating their wives and children, and the result in such cases 
was that the whole village Avas burnt down, merely because a few 
Armenians had tried to protect their famihes. 

Toward the middle of April we heard rumours that there were 
great disturbances in Van. We have heard statements both from 
Turks and from Armenians, and as these reports agree in every 
respect, it is quite plain that there is some truth in them. They 
state that the Ottoman Government sent orders that all Armenians 
were to give up their arms, which the Armenians refused to do 
on the ground that they required their arms in case of necessity. 
This caused a regular massacre. All villages inhabited by 
Armenians were burnt down. The Turks boasted of having 
now got rid of all the Armenians. I heard it from the officers 
myself, how they revelled in the thought that the Armenians had 
been got rid of. 

Thus the winter passed, with things happening every day 
more terrible than one can possibly describe. AVe then heard that 
massacres had started in BitUs. In Moush everything was being 
prepared for one, when the Russians arrived at Liz, which is 
about 14 to 16 hours' journey from Moush. This occupied the 
attention of the Turks, so that the massacre was put off for the 
time being. Hardly had the Russians left Liz, however, when 
all the districts inhabited by Armenians were pillaged and 
destroyed. 

[23] 



GERMAN EYE-WITNESS. 



89 



This was in the month of May. At the beginning of June, 
we heard that the whole Armenian population of BitUs had been 
got rid of. It was at this time that we received news that the 
American Missionary, Dr. Knapp, had been wounded in an 
Armenian house and that the Turkish Government had sent him 
to Diyarbekir. The very first night in Diyarbekir he died, and 
the Government explained his death as a result of having over- 
eaten, which of course nobody beUeved. 

When there was no one left in Bitlis to massacre, their attention 
was diverted to Moush. Cruelties had already been committed, 
but so far not too publicly ; now, however, they started to shoot 
people down without any cause, and beat them to death simply 
for the pleasure of doing so. In Moush itself, which is a big 
town, there are 25,000 Armenians ; in the neighbourhood there 
are 300 villages, each containing about 500 houses. In all these 
not a single male Armenian is now to be seen, and hardly a 
woman either, except for a few here and there. 

In the first week of July 20,000 soldiers arrived from 
Constantinople by way of Harpout with munitions and eleven 
guns, and laid siege to Moush. As a matter of fact, the town had 
already been beleaguered since the middle of June. At this stage 
the Mutessarif gave orders that we should leave the town and go to 
Harpout. We pleaded with him to let us stay, for we had in our 
charge all the orphans and patients ; but he was angry and 
threatened to remove us by force if we did not do as instructed. 
As we both fell sick, however, we were allowed to remain at 
Moush. I received permission, in the event of our leaving Moush, 
to take the Armenians of our orphanage with us ; but when we 
asked for assurances of their safety, his only reply was : " You 
can take them with you, but being Armenians their heads may 
and will be cut off on the way." 

On the 10th July Moush was bombarded for several hours, 
on the pretext that some Armenians had tried to escape. I went 
to see the Mutessarif and asked him to protect our buildings ; 
his reply was : "It serves you right for staying instead of leaving 
as instructed. The guns are here to make an end of Moush. Take 
refuge with the Turks." This, of course, was impossible, as we 
could not leave our charges. Next day a new order was pro- 
mulgated for the expulsion of the Armenians, and three days' 
grace was given them to make ready. They were told to register 
themselves at the Government Building before they left. Their 
families could remain, but their property and their money were 
to be confiscated. The Armenians were unable to go, for they 
had no money to defray the journey, and they preferred to die 
in their houses rather than be separated from their famiUes and 
endure a lingering death on the road. 

As stated above, three days' grace was given to the Armenians, 
but two hours had scarcely elapsed when the soldiers began break- 
ing into the houses, arresting the inmates and throwing them into 

[23] 1 2 



90 



MOUSH. 



prison. The guns began to fire and thus the people were effectually 
prevented from registering themselves at the Government Building. 
We all had to take refuge in the cellar for fear of our orphanage 
catching fire. It was heart-rending to hear the cries of the people 
and children who were being burnt to death in their houses. The 
soldiers took great deUght in hearing them, and when people 
who were out in the street during the bombardment fell dead, 
the soldiers merely laughed at them. 

The survivors were sent to Ourfa (there were none left but 
sick women and children) ; I went to the Mutessarif and begged 
him to have mercy on the children at least, but in vain. He replied 
that the Armenian children must perish with their nation. All 
our people were taken from our hospital and orphanage ; they 
left us three female servants. Under these atrocious circum- 
stances, Moush was burnt to the ground. Every officer boasted 
of the number he had personally massacred as his share in ridding 
Turkey of the Armenian race. 

We left for Harpout. Harpout has become the cemetery of 
the Armenians ; from all directions they have been brought to 
Harpout to be buried. There they he, and the dogs and the 
vultures devour their bodies. Now and then some man throws some 
earth over the bodies. In Harpout and Mezre the people have 
had to endure terrible tortures. They have had their eye- brows 
plucked out, their breasts cut off, their nails torn off ; their 
torturers hew off their feet or else hammer nails into them just 
as they do in shoeing horses. This is all done at night time, and 
in order that the people may not hear their screams and know of 
their agony, soldiers are stationed round the prisons, beating 
drums and blowing whistles. It is needless to relate that many 
died of these tortures. When they die, the soldiers cry : "Now 
let your Christ help you." 

One old priest was tortured so cruelly to extract a confession 
that, believing that the torture would cease and that he would 
be left alone if he did it, he cried out in his desperation : " We 
are revolutionists." He expected his tortures to cease, but on 
the contrary the soldiers cried : " What further do we seek ? 
We have it here from his own lips." And instead of picking their 
victims as they did before, the officials had all the Armenians 
tortured without sparing a soul. 

Early in July, 2,000 Armenian soldiers were ordered to leave 
for Aleppo to build roads. The people of Harpout were terrified 
on hearing this, and a panic started in the town. The Vali 
sent for the German missionary, Mr. Ehemann, and begged him 
to quiet the people, repeating over and over again that no harm 
whatever would befall these soldiers. Mr. Ehemann took the 
Vali's word and quieted the people. But they had scarcely left 
when we heard that they had all been murdered and thrown into 
a cave. Just a few managed to escape, and we got the reports 
from them. It was useless to protest to the Vali. The American 

[23] 



GERMAN EYE-WITNESS. 



91 



Consul at Harpout protested several times, but the Vali makes 
no account of him, and treats him in a most shameful manner. A 
few days later another 2,000 Armenian soldiers were despatched 
via Diyarbekir, and, in order to hinder them the more surely from 
escaping, they were left to starve on the way, so that they had no 
strength left in them to flee. The Kurds were given notice that 
the Armenians were on the way, and the Kurdish women came with 
their butcher's knives to help the men. In Mezr6 a public 
brothel was erected for the Turks, and all the beautiful Armenian 
girls and women were placed there. At night the Turks were 
allowed free entrance. The permission for the Protestant and 
Catholic Armenians to be exempted from deportation only arrived 
after their deportation had taken place. The Government 
wanted to force the few remaining Armenians to accept the 
Mohammedan faith. A few did so in order to save their wives 
and children from the terrible sufferings already witnessed 
in the case of others. The people begged us to leave for 
Constantinople and obtain some security for them. On our way 
to Constantinople we only encountered old women. No young 
women or girls were to be seen. 

Already by November* we had known that there would be a 
massacre. The Mutessarif of Moush, who was a very intimate 
friend of Enver Pasha, declared quite openly that they would 
massacre the Armenians at the first opportune moment and 
exterminate the whole race. Before the Russians arrived they 
intended first to butcher the Armenians, and then fight the 
Russians afterwards. Towards the beginning of April, in the 
presence of a Major Lange and several other high officials, including 
the American and German Consuls, Ekran Bey quite openly 
declared the Government's intention of exterminating the 
Armenian race. All these details plainly show that the massacre 
was dehberately planned. 

In a few villages destitute women come begging, naked and 
sick, for alms and protection. We are not allowed to give them 
anything, we are not allowed to take them in, in fact we are for- 
bidden to do anything for them, and they die outside. If only 
permission could be obtained from the authorities to help them ! 
If we cannot endure the sight of these poor people's sufferings, 
what must it be like for the sufferers themselves ? 

It is a story written in blood. Two old missionaries and a 
younger lady (an American) were sent away from Mardin. They 
were treated ju«t like prisoners, dogged continually by the 
gendarmes, and were brought in this fashion to SivaF. For 
missionaries of that age a journey of this kind in the present 
circumstances was obviously a terrible hardship. 



* 1914. 

[23] 



92 



MOUSH. 



24. MOUSH DISTRICT : NARRATIVE OF A DEPORTED WOMAN, 
RELATED BY HER TO MR. VARTKES OF MOUSH*, 
RECORDED BY HIM ON THE 25th JULY, 1915, AND 
PUBLISHED SUBSEQUENTLY IN THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL 
" VAN-TOSP." 

To-day I heard a terrible story. All the Armenians who 
were deported from Moush were either killed or drowned in the 
Mourad River f. Among these were my mother and three sisters 
with their children. This news was brought to us by a woman 
who came here at midnight. We thought she was a ghost, as 
she seemed Hke one coming from the grave. She had saved her 
two-year-old boy. 

She immediately asked for bread. We had not any, as we 
were living on raw grain and meat, but we gave her what we had. 
After she had had enough, we asked her all kinds of questions. 
She was from the village of Kheiban, and was one of the deported. 
This is what she told us : 

" The Turks collected all the -women and children of the 
villages of Sordar, Pazou, Hassanova, Salekan and Gvars, and 
after keeping them for five days they brought them to Ziaret. 
Here the inhabitants of Meghd, Baghlou, Ourough, Ziaret and 
Kheiban joined them, and they were all taken towards the bridge 
over the Mourad River. On the way the families from the villages 
of Dom, Hergerd, Norag, Aladin, Gomsf, Khashkhaldoukh, 
Souloukh, Khoronk, Kartzor, Kizil Agatch, Komer, Shekhlan, 
Avazaghpur, Plel and Kurdmeidan joined the party, making 
altogether a company of 8,000 to 10,000 people. 

" All the old women and the weak who were unable to walk 
were killed. There were about one hundred Kurdish guards 
over us, and our lives depended on their pleasure. It was a very 
common thing for them to rape our girls in our presence. Very 
often they violated eight or ten-year-old girls, and as a consequence 
many would be unable to walk, and were shot. 

" Our company moved on slowly, leaving heaps of corpses 
behind. Most of us were almost naked. When we passed by a 
village, all the Kurdish men and women would come and rob us 
as they pleased. When a Kurd fancied a girl, nothing would 
prevent him from taking her. The babies of those who were 
carried away were killed in our presence. 

They gave us bread once every other day, though many 
did not get even that. When all our provisions were gone, we 
gathered wheat from the fields and ate it. Many a mother lost 
her mind and dropped her baby by the wayside. 

" Some succeeded in running away, and hid themselves in 
the fields among the wheat until it was dark. Those who were 
acquainted with the mountains of that region would thus escape 
and go back to seek their dear ones. Some went to Sassoun, 
hearing that it had not yet fallen, others were drowned in the 

♦ At that time in hiding in the forests of Sourp Garabed. 
t Eastern Euphrates. { Koms. 

[24] 



ARMENIAN VICTIM. 



93 



Mourad River. I did not attempt to run away, as I had witnessed 
with my own eyes the assassination of my dear ones. I had a 
few piastres left, and hoped to Hve a few days longer. 

" We heard on our way from the Kurds that Kurdish Chettis 
(bands of robbers) had collected all the inhabitants of Kurdmeidan 
and Shekhlan, about 500 women and children, and burnt them 
by the order of Rashid Effendi, the head of the Chettis. 

" When we reached the Khozmo Pass, our guards changed 
their southerly direction and turned west, in the direction of 
the Euphrates. When we reached the boundary of the Ginj 
district our guards were changed, the new ones being more brutal. 
By this time our number was diminished by half. When we 
reached the boundary of D j abaghchour we passed through a narrow 
valley ; here our guards ordered us to sit down by the river and 
take a rest. We were very thankful for this respite and ran 
towards the river to get a drink of water. 

" After half-an-hour we saw a crowd of Kurds coming towards 
us from Dj abaghchour. They surrounded us and ordered us to 
cross the river, and many obeyed. The report of the guns 
drowned the sounds of wailing and crying. In that panic I took 
my little boy on my back and jumped into the river. I was a 
good swimmer and succeeded in reaching the opposite shore of 
the Euphrates with my precious bundle unnoticed, and hid myself 
behind some undergrowth. 

" By nightfall no one remained alive from our party. The 
Kurds left in the direction of Dj abaghchour. At dusk I came out 
from my hiding place to a field in the vicinity and found some 
wheat, which I ate ; then I followed the Euphrates in a northerly 
direction, and after great difficulty I reached the plain of Moush. 
I decided to go to the mountains of Sourp Garabed, as I had heard 
that there were many Armenians there. During the nights 
my boy was a great comfort to me. I felt that a Hving being was 
with me and fear lost its horror. I thank God I have seen the 
faces of Armenians again." 

The poor woman ended her story, and our hearts were stricken 
with sorrow, for we had loved ones among the unfortunate 
people of her convoy. Two days later her boy died from lack of 
nourishment, and after five days she was found by a party of 
patrolling Kurds and killed. 



[241 



MOUSH. 



26. ICOUSH : RESUME OF INFORMATION FURNISHED BY 
REFUGEES IN THE CAUCASUS AND PUBLISHED IN THE 
CAUCASIAN PRESS, ESPECIALLY IN THE ARMENIAN 
JOURNAL MSCHAK " ; COMPILED BY MR. G. H. PAELIAN, 
AND COMMUNICATED BY HIM TO THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL 
" ARARAT,- OF LONDON, MARCH, 1916. 

The following reports concerning the massacres and deporta- 
tions in the region of Moush and Sassoim have come to hand 
from completely independent som'ces, yet it is remarkable to 
not 3 how they confirm one another. 

The massacres of Moush began on the 2Sth June (11th July), 
Sunday morning, and lasted until Monday night. They were 
organised by the Governors of Van and Bitlis and carried out in 
the presence of their representatives, among whom were Abdoullah 
Bey of Sipuk, Topal Ibraliim of Moush (tax collector), Hassan 
(tax collector), and the pohce hakim. Before the massacres, all 
the prominent Armenians underwent indescribable sulSerings. 
They were flogged and their limbs twisted until their thumbs 
began to bleed. The day the peasants were arrested they wished 
to take Holy Communion first, but were refused. The monks 
of Saint Garabed and the prominent Ai^menians of the villages 
of Gvars, Sortra and Pazou were assassinated in the monastery. 
The perpetrators opened the tomb of Bishop Xerses Kharakhanian, 
with the hope of fijiding money. They took his shroud and put 
the body back in the tomb. Mehmed EfEendi, the Ottoman 
deputy for Gendje'^, collected about 40 women and children and 
killed them. Two himdi'ed of the inhabitants of Moush were 
brought to the tillage. of Shekhlan and throT^ni into the ^lourad 
River. One hundred men from Sassoun, who surrendered, were 
imprisoned without food or diink. When they begged for bread, 
the Tm-kish inhabitants could not stand their waiUng, and asked 
the Government either to give them bread or Idll them. They 
were all Idlled about the middle of Xovember. 

Then the Government looked for the Armenians who had 
found refuge with some Kurds, and finding about 2,000 of them 
massacred them aU. The fact is confirmed that Kegham Der 
Garabedian, the Ottoman deputy for Moush, was hanged. The 
property of the Armenians of Moush and Biths was sold by the 
Government, and all their sheep and cattle which were left with 
the Kurds were requisitioned by the army of Hahl Bey. 

According to reports from the Caucasus, the Turks gathered 
together about 6,000 Armenians by treachery and deception 
from 20 Armenian villages round the monastery of Saint Garabed 
at Moush and massacred them. This took place near the wall of 
the monastery. Before the massacre began, a German officer 
stood on the wall and harangued the Ai'menians to the effect 
that the Turkish Government had sho^vD great kindness to, and 
had honoured, the Armenians, but that they were not satisfied and 
wanted autonomy ; he then, by the report of a revolver, gave the 



♦Ginj (?) 
[25] 



RESUME OF CAUCASIAN PRESS. 



95 



signal for the general massacre. Among the massacred were 
two monks, one of them being the father superior of Sourp 
Garabed, Yeghishe Vartabed, who had a chance of escaping but 
did not wish to be separated from his flock and was killed \^ith 
them. From the Sahajian district about 4,000 Armenians found 
refuge in the forests of the monastery, and fought against the 
attacking Turks and Kurds. They kept themselves ahve on 
wheat, raw meat without salt, turtle, frogs, etc. Some of them 
finally surrendered, but no one knows the fate of the remainder. 
The monastery of St. Garabed was sacked and robbed. The Turks 
opened the tomb of St. Garabed and destroyed ever^-thing. 
They also discovered some secret chambers. Turkish chiefs took 
up t'leir quarters in the monastery ^^-ith imprisoned Armenian 
girls. 

According to another report no one was spared in Moush, not 
even the orphans in the German Orphanage. Some of these were 
killed and others deported. The Rev. Krikor and Mr. Marcar 
Ghougasian, teachers in the German Orphanage, were killed, and 
only two escaped death, ]\Iiss Margarid Xalbandian and ^liss 
Maritza Arisdakesian. These were graduates of the German 
Seminary at Mezre, and owe then- hves to a kind German lady. 

According to the reports of some Armenians who had found 
refuge in the forests of Sourp Garabed and finally made their way 
to the Caucasus, Hilmi Bey was appointed for the purpose of 
clearing the Armenian provinces of Armenians. This man 
reached Erzeroum on the 18th May, and then went to Khnyss, 
Boulanik, Khlat, etc., massacring every Armenian in these places. 
According to a letter, dated the 19th Jun6 (3rd July), written to 
one of these refugees, Hilmi Bey had three army corps (?) with 
him, a body of gendarmes, and the volunteers of Hadji Moussa 
Bey and Sheikh Hazret, who had come to Moush to massacre 
the Armenians. To these forces were added the Turkish mob of 
Moush, the Turkish refugees from Alashkerd and Badnotz, Keur 
Husein Pasha and Abd-ul-Medjid Bey. The massacres were 
directed by Governor Djevdet of Van, Commander Halil of 
Dihman, Governor Abd-ul-Khalak of BitUs, and Governor Servet 
Bey of Moush. The order for massacre was given on the 28th 
June (11th July). According to Turldsh Government statistics 
120,000 Armenians were kiUed in this district. 



96 



BITLIS. 



26. BITLIS : LETTER DATED 14th OCTOBER, 1915, FROM A FOREIGN 
RESIDENT AT BITLIS TO A GERMAN OFFICIAL ; COM- 
MUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN 
AND SYRIAN RELIEF. 

From having seen you yesterday, I am assured that you will 
receive with kindly consideration what I feel obliged to write to 
you. It is about the women and children who still remain with us. 

It might be well to relate first a few of the recent events 
bearing on the matter. 

On the 23rd June the Armenian men of the city, including 
those on our premises, were led to prison. A few days later, when 
they began to take the women from the city, I called on the Vali 
and told him that I could not give up the girls of our school 
and the women who had come to me for protection. He said that 
Halil Bey had decided the matter in regard to the women, and 
that he himself had no power to alter that decision, but that he 
would leave those on our premises till the last. I wrote a letter 
to Halil Bey with the consent of the Vali, to whom I sent a copy. 
I received no answer. 

The women and girls are now employed in the hospitals, and 
by this means we have been able to keep them until now. We 
have spoken with Djevdet Bey recently, but he gives us no assurance 
of their ultimate safety, and says that the children must go. Of 
our Protestant community, we have twenty-five teachers and 
pupils, twenty-five women and twelve children. Apart from these 
there are other women who are employed in the hospital, and about 
thirty orphans. The first orphans whom we received were brought 
to the school by Turkish officials, and since it appeared that the 
Government did not disapprove, we have received others and 
provide them with food and shelter. Much as we should like to 
save them all, we feel that we can only insist on keeping those 
of our community. 

My heart is full of this subject. It is not my desire in any way 
to oppose the Government. Our superiors give us very definite 
instructions on this point before we come out. We all agreed 
here that since the Government thought it a necessary war measure 
that the men should be taken into exile, we could not refuse to give 
them up. But since that time I have witnessed so many things 
that seemed unnecessary, that the giving up of those entrusted 
to my care now seems a different matter. I am not saying that 
we can prevent their being taken — some of our women have 
already been taken from us — no one realises more than we do our 
own helplessness. But we are trjdng by every means in our 
power to save them. I plead with you for your help in this. 
I have wanted very much to see the Vali, but owing to Miss A.'s 
being ill I have had no interpreter. 

We received word recently from Constantinople that the 
Government had informed our Ambassador that Protestant com- 
munities would not be molested, and that he had notified the 

[26] 



FOREIGN RESIDENT. 



97 



consuls to that effect. But such orders have not been carried 
out here. 

These women and children who are with us cannot possibly 
do harm to the Government — why must they be sent away to such 
a fate ? If the hospital were removed, we could then be responsible 
for their support, until such time as it would be fitting to take 
them with us to Harpout. My first plan, in the event of their 
trying to take our girls, was to barricade the school building, and 
compel them to force their way in or set fire to the building. 
Death in that form would have been welcome to the girls under 
those circumstances. The plan was not practicable, and I am 
telling you only that you may understand how much we dread 
the fate that awaits them. When I suggested the plan to my 
associates, I met with some opposition, but Sister B. said : "If 
I were in your place I would do the same thing," and suggested 
that she should take some of the women whom I could not 
accommodate in the school, to another building, and remain with 
them there. Her sympathetic understanding at that time was 
a great help to me. I have always had a great faith in Germany. 
Through Miss C. I learned to love her country. Somehow, I 
trust you as I trusted her, and I feel that you will do for us what 
she would have done had she been able. Both Miss A. and 
myself entreat you most earnestly that you will use what influence 
you can exert here, that we may keep these women and children 
with us. 

Your companions are here and inform us that you will leave 
to-morrow. We regret that we shall not see you again, but enjoyed 
the opportunity of meeting you the one time. 



IV. 



AZERBAIJAN AND HAKKIARI. 

The province of Azerbaijan lies immediately east of Van, 
across the Persian border, and consists principally of another 
and still larger inland basin, shut in by mountains which drain 
towards the central Lake of Urmia. 

Though Azerbaijan is nominally a part of Persia, there are 
practically no Persians among its inhabitants. The majority 
of them are Shiah Mohammedans, speaking a Turkish dialect ; 
but the parts west of the Lake, and especially the districts of Urmia 
and Salmas, are occupied by a Semitic Christian population, 
variously known as Nestorians" (from their religion), ''Syrians" 
{from their language) or Chaldoeans" {from their race). They are 
descended from the former inhabitants of Mesopotamia, who were 
pushed into and over the mountains by Arab encroachment. A larger 
number of them is still left on the Ottoman side of the watershed, in 
the Hakkiari district round the headwaters of the Greater Zab, and 
further west, again, near the confluence of the Tigris and the Bohtan. 
In the two latter districts they are now in a minority as compared 
with their Kurdish neighbours, and Kurds are also interspersed 
among the Nestor ians in the Urmia basin, especially towards the 
southern end of the Lake, but also on the west {Tergawar). 

When, in the winter of 1914-15, the Turks took the offensive 
against the Russians on the Caucasian front, they sent a subsidiary 
army, reinforced by Kurdish tribesmen, into Azerbaijan. The weak 
Russian forces occupying the province retired northwards at the 
beginning of J anuary, and the Turco-Kurdish invaders penetrated as 
far as Tabriz, while the Nestorian villages on the western side of Lake 
Urmia remained iyi their possession for nearly five months. The 
Russians were followed in their retreat by a considerable part of the 
Christian population, who suffered terrible hardships on their winter 
journey. Those that remained behind flocked into the town of 
Urmia, and were subject to all manner of atrocities during the 
twenty weeks that the Turks and Kurds controlled the place. 
The Russians completed the re-occupation of Azerbaijan in May, 
1915 ; they entered the town of Urmia on the 24:th May, five days 
after their first entry into Van, and freed the people of Salmas 
and Urmia from their oppressors. But they could not save the 
coynmunities in the Zab district, who suffered in June the same fate 
as the Armenians of Bitlis, Moush and Sassoun ; and when the 
Russians were compelled to evacuate Van again at the end of J uly, 
the panic spread from Van to Urmia, and afresh stream of Nestorian 
refugees swelled the general exodus of Christians into the Russian 
Provinces ^of the Caucasus. 



100 



URMIA. 



27. URMIA : STATEMENT BY THE REV. WILLIAM A. SHEDD, D.D., 
OF THE AMERICAN (PRESBYTERIAN) MISSION STATION AT 
URMIA; COMMUNICATED BY THE BOARD OF FOREIGN 
MISSIONS OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN THE U.S.A. 

Persia is not in the war, but the war has been in Persia ever 
since its beginning. Indeed, the mihtary movements of Russia 
and of Turkey date back several years before its outbreak. The 
Turks in 1906 occupied a strip of territory along the Persian 
border extending from a point south-west of Soujboulak to a 
point west of Khoi. The purpose was no doubt to secure a 
boundary-line making it more possible to move troops from the 
Mosul region into Trans-Caucasia, as well as to make it easier 
to hold the frontier against any Russian attack. In 1911, the 
Turks evacuated this strip of territory and the whole boundary 
question was submitted to a mixed commission, on which the 
British and Russian Governments were represented as well as 
the Turkish and Persian. When war began in August, 1914, 
this commission had completed its work from the Persian Gulf to 
Salmas. The Russians, in connection with internal disturbances 
in Persia, occupied with their troops a number of cities in 
northern Persia. Tabriz was occupied in 1909 ; Urmia and 
Khoi in 1910. This measure enabled the Russians not only to 
control Persia, but also to secure the road from their rail-head 
at Djoulfa to Van through Khoi. When the Great War began, 
Russia was therefore in occupation. 

Disturbances at once began along the border and at the be- 
ginning of October, 1914, a determined attack was made on Urmia, 
ostensibly by Kurds. It was afterwards clear, from statements 
made by Persians and Turks who were engaged in the attack, 
that the nucleus of the fighting force was made up of Turkish 
soldiers and that the attack was under the command of Turkish 
officers. It was also clear from statements made by Persians 
friendly with the Turks and unfriendly towards the Russians, 
that the result of success in this attack would have been the 
looting of the Christian population, with probable loss of Hfe. 

About a month after this attack, war was declared between 
Russia and Turkey. About the same time the Russians closed 
the Turkish Consulates at Urmia, Tabriz and Khoi, and expelled 
the Kurds and other Sunni Moslems from the villages near 
Urmia. Arms were given at the same time to some of the 
Christians. The Turks in response expelled several thousand 
Christians from adjoining regions in Turkey. These refugees 
were settled in the villages vacated by the Sunni Moslems who had 
been expelled. Turkish and Kurdish forces gathered along the 
frontier and especially to the south in the Soujboulak region. 

In the latter part of December, two engagements took place- 
one 20 miles south of Urmia between Kurdish and Russian 
soldiers, in which the latter were successful ; the other was at 
Miandoab, at the south end of Lake Urmia, in which the Russian 

[27] 



DR. SHEDD. 



101 



forces, with some Persians, were routed by Turks and Kurds. 
About the same time Enver Pasha invaded Trans-Caucasia from 
Armenia at Sarikamysh in the Kars region. This threatened to 
cut off Russia's communications with Persia, and orders were 
given for the evacuation of Tabriz, Urmia and Khoi. The 
evacuation of Urmia took place on the 2nd January, that of 
Salmas a day or two later, and that of Tabriz on the 5th. Mean- 
while, the military situation in Trans-Caucasia had changed with 
the rout of Enver Pasha's army, and Khoi was not evacuated. 

For convenience it may be well to summarise the mihtary 
events from the 1st January to the 1st June. Tabriz was 
occupied by the Turks and Kurds, but, about the 1st February, 
a crushing defeat a few miles north of Tabriz led to its sudden 
evacuation and to the flight of the Turkish forces back to 
Miandoab. The American Consul at Tabriz, the Hon. Gordon 
Paddock, with the very effective co-operation of the German 
Consul, who had previously been in the American Hospital under 
the protection of the American Consul, kept the city of Tabriz 
from loss of life and to a large extent from loss of property. The 
Turks collected large Kurdish forces from the Soujboulak region 
and from districts in eastern Turkey ; these, together with a 
smaller force of Turkish regulars, moved through Urmia and 
Salmas against Khoi, joining Turkish forces from Van under 
Djevdet Bey. This campaign against Khoi lasted until the 
1st March, and was unsuccessful. In March the Russian forces 
drove the Turks from Salmas and occupied this region. Affairs 
remained in this condition until April. In April the Van cam- 
paign of the Russians, with the aid of Armenian volunteers, 
began. A Turkish force of approximately 18,000 men with 
mountain guns under Halil Bey, an uncle of Enver Pasha, reached 
Urmia on the 16th April. They had come over the mountain 
passes from Mosul, having been sent from Constantinople by way 
of Aleppo to Mosul. Halil Bey was defeated in Salmas, and in 
May retreated towards Van. The Turkish forces were finally 
withdrawn from Urmia on the 20th May, and the Russians re- 
occupied that city on the 24th May. The region of Soujboulak 
was occupied by the Turks for some months longer, but the 
campaign in that region has no bearing on the Christian population, 
since there are no Christians in the region. 

The Christian population in this region is partly Armenian 
and partly Nestorian — or Syrian, as they call themselves. The 
Armenian element consisted of four or five thousand in Tabriz, 
ten thousand or more in Salmas, a small number in Khoi, and 
some six or seven thousand in the Urmia district. The Nes- 
torians, except for less than 2,000 in Salmas, all lived in the 
Urmia district. Including refugees from Turkey and the 
Armenians, there were in Urmia, at the beginning of 1915, not 
far from 35,000 Christians. The Syrians or Nestorians include 
not only members of the old Nestorian Church but also Protestants, 

[27] 



102 



URMIA. 



members of the Russian Orthodox Church, and Roman Catholics 
— or Chaldeans, as the last are generally called. In Maragha 
there is a colony of Armenians numbering some hundreds. 
Excepting the Christians in Tabriz, Maragha, and the city of 
Urmia, the last numbering not more than 2,000, all these 
Christians live in villages, Mohammedans and Christians some- 
times sharing a village between them and sometimes hving in 
separate villages. These Mohammedan villagers belong to the 
Shiah sect but speak the Turkish language. 

The evacuation of the Russians put all the Christians in peril. 
The Salmas Christians (except about 800), most of the Christians 
of Tabriz, and eight or ten thousand from Urmia fled with the 
retreating Russians. They left on the shortest notice, without 
preparation and in the heart of winter. Many perished by the 
way, mothers dying in childbirth, old men and women and httle 
children falhng by the wayside from exhaustion. This fleeing 
army of refugees, increased in numbers by several thousand from 
the regions in Turkey between Khoi and Van, passed over the 
Russian border and scattered in the villages and towns of Trans- 
Caucasia, Many of them died of disease due to the privations 
and exposures of flight and Ufe as refugees. 

This flight left some 25,000 Christians in Urmia. All of these 
sought shelter from massacre. On the one hand the Kurds were 
pouring into the plain, urged on and followed by Turkish officers 
and troops ; on the other hand the Moslem villagers set to work 
robbing and looting, IdlHng men and women and outraging the 
women. Several thousand found refuge with friendly Moham- 
medans. Great credit is due to no small number of Moslems, 
most of them humble villagers and some men of higher rank, 
who protected the imperilled Christians. In some cases safety 
was bought by professing Mohammedanism, but many died as 
martyrs to the faith. In several places the Christians defended 
themselves, but the massacring was not confined to these. 
Villages that deliberately gave up their arms and avoided any 
conflict suffered as much as those that fought. The mass of the 
people fled to the city, and all, including the city people, took 
refuge in the mission compounds. The French Roman CathoUc 
Mission sheltered about 3,000, and the compounds of the American 
Presbyterian Mission about 17,000. The latter were enlarged by 
joining up neighbouring yards and so enclosing in one connected 
compound, with only one gate for entrance and exit, some fifteen 
to twenty yards. The American flag was placed over the com- 
pounds of the American Mission, and here people were safe from 
massacre. The villages, in the meantime, with three or four 
exceptions, were a prey to plunder and destruction. Everything 
movable that possessed the least value was either carried away or 
destroyed. 

During the months of Turkish occupation there was never a 
moment of real safety for the Christians. The most unremitting 

[27] 



DR. SHEDD. 



103 



efforts on the part of the missionaries secured comparative 
safety within the city walls, so that the people were scattered to 
some extent from the Mission Compound ; and a few villages, 
including two that were not plundered at the beginning, were 
kept comparatively safe through the efforts of the Persian 
Governor, Beyond these narrow limits the Christians could not 
go. This was shown by constant robberies and murders when 
Christians ventured forth. During this period the Turks were 
guilty not only of failure to protect the Christians effectively, 
but also of direct massacres under their orders. One hundred 
and seventy men thus massacred were buried by the American 
missionaries, their bodies lying in heaps where they had been 
shot down and stabbed, tied together and led out to be murdered 
by Turkish agents. These massacres took place on three different 
occasions. Once men were seized by Turkish officers in the French 
Mission and sent out from the Turkish headquarters to be killed ; 
once there were men seized in a village which was under the 
protection of Turkish soldiers and had had its safety pledged 
repeatedly by the highest Turkish officials ; and once there were 
men from just over the border in Turkey who had been forced to 
bring telegraph wdre down to Urmia and were then taken out 
and killed. In each of these cases some escaped and crawled out, 
wounded and bloody, from the heaps of dead and dying, to find 
refuge with the American missionaries. Besides these, the 
Armenian soldiers in the Turkish army, ]3reviously to the arrival 
of Hahl Bey, were shot. In Urmia, the total losses of this period, 
from the evacuation of the town by the Russians on the 2nd 
January until their return on the 24th May, were the murder of 
over one thousand people — men, women and children ; the out- 
raging of hundreds of w^omen and girls of every age — from eight 
or nine years to old age ; the total robbing of about five-sixths of 
the Christian population ; and the partial or total destruction of 
about the same proportion of their houses. Over two hundred 
girls and women were carried off into captivity, to be forced to 
embrace Islam and to accept Mohammedan husbands. The 
Salmas district suffered quite as much as Urmia, excepting that 
the mass of the people fled with the Russian troops, and con- 
sequently the crimes against women were not so numerous. 
About 800 who remained in Salmas, most of whom were old people, 
with some of the poorer and younger women, were gathered 
together by Djevdet Bey before his withdrawal from Salmas and 
were massacred. This happened early in March. The Salmas 
villages were left in much the same condition as those of Urmia. 

The rehef work began before the evacuation. Unsettled 
conditions had frightened people, and many had brought their 
goods for safe keeping to the American missionaries. With the 
evacuation many more brought their property, whatever they 
could save from the general riot. The protection of those under 
the American flag and of others in the city and in Mohammedan 

[27] K 



104 



URMIA. DR. SIIEDD. 



homes was accomplished only by the most constant vigilance 
during all those months. It was necessary to feed thousands 
of the people, and over ten thousand people were fed for about 
six months. J\Iany of the girls and women who w^ere taken 
captive were found and returned to their homes ; information 
was secured as to others, which led to their subsequent rescue. 
Conditions of life were such that it was impossible to prevent 
epidemics, those that carried off the largest number being typhoid 
and tj'phus. Both of these diseases were probably brought by 
Turkish soldiers cared for in the American Hospital. The total 
number who died of disease during the period of Turkish occupa- 
tion was not less than four thousand. Of eighteen adults con- 
nected with the American Mission, thirteen had either typhus or 
typhoid, and three lost their lives. The French missionaries 
suffered just as severely, and were in greater peril of violence. 

To assign guilt and analyse the causes of this terrible loss of 
life and property is not an altogether easy task. There is no 
class of Mohammedans that can be exempted from blame. The 
villagers joined in the looting and shared in the crimes of violence, 
and Persians of the higher class acquiesced in the outrages and 
shared in the plunder. The Kurds were in their natural element. 
The Turks not only gave occasion for all that happened, but were 
direct participants in the worst of the crimes. On the other hand, 
individuals of every class deserve credit. There were many 
villagers who showed only Idndness. The Persian Governor 
made it possible, by his co-operation, for the American mission- 
aries to do what they did ; the Kurds responded to appeals for 
mercy and, in some cases, returned captive girls unsolicited and 
did other humane service. A few individual Turkish officers 
and a number of their soldiers took strong measures to keep 
order. One such officer saved the city from loot when riot had 
already begun. There were various causes ; jealousy of the 
greater prosperity of the Christian population was one, and 
political animosity, race hatred and religious fanaticism all had 
a part. There was also a definite and determined purpose and 
malice in the conduct of Turkish officials. It is certainly safe to say 
that a part of this outrage and ruin was directly due to the Turks, 
and that none of it would have taken place except for them. 

The duty of Americans, and especially the missionaries, is 
not so much to apportion the blame as to repair the damages. 
The task in Persia is very great, but the opportunities are equally 
as great. The number of destitute persons has been increased 
by the influx of forty or fifty thousand refugees from Turkey — 
Nestorians who lived in the mountain region between Urmia 
and Van, and who were forced to flee from their homes by the 
Turks and Kurds. In outlying districts the men have been 
massacred, and those who have survived are mainly women and 
children ; but from the mountain valleys, where the bulk of 
these people live, they were able to escape en masse. 

[27] 



FIRST EXODUS FROM URMIA. MR. LABARFF. 



105 



28. FIRST EXODUS FROM URMIA, JANUARY, 1915 : REPORT 
DATED 1st MARCH, 1915, FROM THE REVEREND ROBERT 
M. LABAREE, OF THE AMERICAN MISSION STATION AT TABRIZ, 
TO THE HON. F. WILLOUGHBY SMITH, U.S. CONSUL AT TIFLIS ; 
COMMUNICATED BY THE BOARD OF FOREIGN MISSIONS OF 
THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN THE U.S.A. 

In view of your interest in the welfare of the Persian Christian 
refugees here in the Caucasus, and your efforts in their behalf, 
may I submit to you a report on their condition as I have seen 
it in my journey hither from Tabriz ? Commissioned by the 
American Presbyterian Mission of West Persia to investigate the 
affairs of the many thousands who have fled recently from Persia 
into Russia in order to escape the cruel vengeance of the Kurdish 
border tribes, I left Tabriz over two weeks ago and have spent the 
intervening time visiting the various centres where these refugees 
are congregated. It is hard to estimate exactty the number of these 
refugees from Persia, for mingled with them are a multitude of 
fugitives from Turkey. The total number of all these unfortunates 
in the district of Erivan, where most of them have found refuge, 
was stated by a good authority to be seventy thousand. The 
Persian contingent is pretty consistently estimated at from 
fifteen to twenty thousand. The refugees from Turkey are 
almost entirely Armenian, and are being taken care of by the 
wealthy Armenians of this province through their well organised 
relief committees. Those from Persia are less fortunate, for a 
majority of them are Syrian ; and, although the Armenians have 
been very generous to them also, they have, no influential friends 
to speak in their behalf and minister to their needs. It is also 
safe to say that the fugitives from the Urmia plain are the 
most sadly in need of assistance, for they had no previous 
warning of the impending disaster, and most of them have come 
out without any preparation whatever for their prolonged sojourn 
in a strange land. 

I doubt whether the story of that awful flight can ever 
adequately be told. Few tales that I have ever heard can 
compare with it in heart-rending interest. The whole northern 
section of the Urmia plain learned of the departure of 
the Russian troops about ten o'clock on the night of Saturday, 
the 2nd January (1915). By midnight the terrible exodus 
had begun, and by morning the Christian villages of that district 
were practically deserted. People left their cattle in the 
stables and all their household goods in their homes, just as they 
were, and hurried away to save their lives. If anyone possessed 
a horse or a donkey or any other beast of burden he was fortunate, 
and if he happened to have ready cash in his home he was even 
more so ; but, well-to-do as a man may be, cash is not always 
on hand in the villages, and so many who, according to the 
standards of the country, were rich, started on their long journey 
with a mere pittance, and the vast majority of men and women 

[28] K 2 



106 



FIRST EXODUS FROM URMIA. 



and children were on foot. Before the seven days' hard walking 
through the slush and mud to the Russian border was accom- 
phshed, all encumbrances were cast aside, quilts, extra clothing, 
and even bread, for it became a question with the poor, tired, 
struggling crowd which they would carry — their bedding or their 
babies. Of course, very many of the weaker ones never reached 
Dj(julfa at all, but lay down by the roadside for their last long 
rest, and those who did reach the Russian border were so haggard 
and emaciated that their own friends did not recognise them. 
Almost worse than the weary tramping by day, in the most 
terrible mud, were the nights in the villages by the way. E very- 
possible shelter was so crowded that there was no room whatever 
to lie down, and the air became so foul before morning that the 
occupants were nearly suffocated ; and yet those who could 
find no shelter and lay out all night in the wet were even more 
miserable. As one has heard the same sad story repeated a 
score of.times with onty a difference in details, one has wondered 
what human flesh and blood can stand in a great crisis like this. 
I should hke to give two instances that have come under my 
personal knowledge ; such stories might be multiphed a thousand 
times. 

One old man Tvith two daughters-in-law and six grandchildren 
started on that fatal night from the village of Karagoz. All were 
afoot, and the women carried their little ones by turns, while 
the old man stumbled along as best he could, unable to carry 
any burden. He at last gave out, lay down by the roadside and 
died. The two women and their little charges pressed on for 
a day or two longer, when one of them gave birth to a baby, 
also by the roadside. The mother tore off her dress, wrapped 
the baby in the pieces and resumed the weary tramp. Fortunately 
for them, the two women found their husbands waiting for them 
in Russian Djoulfa ; but, alas, in the new complications arising 
from the coming of the baby two of the other children were 
separated from the party and lost. Two days the parents waited 
in Djoulfa, until a wagon-load of little waifs was brought in by 
kind-hearted soldiers. They found their two little ones among 
the number, but so emaciated by their hardships that they died 
shortly afterwards. People dying and children being born by 
the way are commonplaces of this journey ; but it is not every one 
that has had a combination of such misfortunes. 

Here, again, is another instance no less sad. The pastor of 
our Cosi congregation set out, as others did, in the dark, together 
with his w\ie, married daughter, and five-year-old granddaughter ; 
but he became separated from them very soon, so that the women 
were compelled to make the journey alone. They reached the 
town of Nahichevan, in Russian territory, with hundreds of 
others in a wholl}^ exhausted condition. All three of them were 
sick and were taken to the local hospital, where a few days later 
the father of the family found them. But shortly afterwards, 

[28] 



MR. LAB A REE. 



107 



when the thousands of refugees were cleared out of the town and 
scattered in the villages, he was forced to leave, and his family 
have not seen him since. The daughter and grandchild were 
dismissed from the hospital, and the old mother, rather than 
remain alone, sick as she was, left also. For five days they stayed 
with a crowd ol others in the railway station, when they were 
moved on to another village ; and there, the old woman's dysentery 
having become so bad and the httle girl having developed the 
prevaihng scarlet fever, they were taken to the village hospital. 
I found them there a couple of weeks later, or rather the younger 
woman and her child ; the mother had passed away two hours 
before I arrived. I buried the dear old woman, in whose house 
I have been many times. I gave her a better funeral than most 
of the other dying refugees ; but it was only a rough cofhn with 
shavings as a pillow for her poor tired head. And then, with 
a little money put into the hand of the daughter and a promise 
to do what I could to find her father, I left her, dazed as a woman 
in a dream, and came away. The father cannot be found, and 
I fear that he has dropped down in some unknown spot and died. 

I have wondered time and time again whether this panic- 
stricken flight was not some terrible mistake, and whether the 
people had not better have stayed at home -and cast themselves 
on the mercies of the Kurds and their Moslem neighbours ; but 
as the stories of the sufferings of those who remained behind begin 
to reach us — stories of bloodshed and forced apostacy, and of 
women and girls carried off to a Hfe worse than death — I have 
revised my judgment. Even all this untold misery by the way 
and in a strange land is better than the fate of those who remained 
at home. 

But I must pass on to report the conditions as they now exist 
among the refugees. In my effort to get the facts, I have had 
interviews with the Exarch (the Metropolitan Bishop of Tiflis), 
the Governor of the Erivan district, the Armenian Bishops of 
Tabriz (now in Nahichevan) and of Erivan, members of the various 
relief committees and the village elders, who act as local relief 
committees, together with a very large number of the refugees 
themselves in various sections of the province. Whatever one 
may find to criticise in the administration of relief, one cannot 
but recognise the tremendous burden that has descended upon 
the people of this region and the serious problems they have had 
to face. While one cannot say that there has been an adequate 
effort to grapple with the difficulties, yet much has been done. 
The Government officials have given free railway transportation 
to the interior, and they have wisely had the people scattered 
among the villages, where they can best be taken care of. The 
energetic Armenian committees have taken care of their own 
people, and have been unexpectedly generous to the Syrians 
who are quartered in their midst. In Tiflis the Syrians themselves 
have done much for their own race in that city, and have had 

[281 



108 



FIRST EXODUS FROM URMIA. 



an efficient committee working in conjunction with the municipal 
rehef committee. But more worthy of praise than any or all 
of these together are the humble kind-hearted villagers them- 
selves, who have carried the heaviest end of the burden, taking 
in the homeless wanderers, giving them shelter and even bc^dding, 
and furnishing them with food. Had it not been for this un- 
organised rehef, the misery would have been many times more 
intense. In one village, of 50 houses, I found 307 refugees ; 
and in another, of 100 houses, 850 dependents. In the former 
place all that had been received from outside sources had been 
220 roubles, and in the latter the extent of outside relief had 
been about six pounds per head of poor flour. But the farmers 
of that section have had a bad year of it, and are themselves 
feeling the pinch of poverty ; and the burden of all this multitude 
of destitute people is getting to be almost intolerable. At best, 
too, what has been done by all agencies combined has failed to 
save the wretched refugees from their sad plight. With often 
twenty of them in one room, sleeping on the grass, destitute of 
bedclothing and having unwholesome-looking bread to eat, their 
lot is not to be envied. No wonder that after the hardships of 
the journey scores and hundreds of them have died, pneumonia 
and enteric troubles and scarlet fever having carried off a multitude. 
The scarlet fever has been especially virulent, and there was 
scarcely a house which I visited where from two to five little 
ones had not been carried out to the cemetery. One could 
hardly hope to save a man with dysentery on the five kopecks 
(l^d.) a day given for his support, or AAdth the coarse flour given 
in other districts. While one cannot but pity all, yet one's 
especial sympathy goes out to those whom one has seen in their 
own country living in comfort and, for this country, even in 
luxury, yet here, in this strange land, dependent on the dole of 
bread given them. 

With such conditions I have not dared to do anything in the 
way of relief, except to leave here and there small sums for the 
sick and for those particularly suffering. As long as I have not 
found anyone that has died or is dying from hunger I did not 
think it justifiable to expend our little funds in the hopeless task 
of making men comfortable. More and more am I persuaded 
that we must reserve our efforts to the time when these people 
begin to return to their homes. If the way opens for such a 
return, it must be our first endeavour to restore them to their 
villages ; for very many of them have their wheat -fields and 
vineyards, and if these are not looked after this spring, the rehef 
problem of the future becomes many times more serious. But 
how are these unfortunates to get home ? Some of them had a 
little money when they came out and some reserve strength ; 
now both funds and physical force are gone, and after the hard 
journey back they will reach homes plundered of everything, 
and in many cases burnt. Officials here have declared that there 

[28] 



MR. LABAREE. 



109 



is no question but that the Government will send them back 
by rail to Djoulfa free of charge ; but, when they are once in 
Persia, then all relief committees save our own cease to act. 
It is on this basis that I wish to make my appeal to the American 
public. In a report which I subjoin. Dr. Shedd, of our Mission 
in Urmia, gives us a picture of the conditions there among those 
who, to the number of ten to fifteen thousand, have found shelter 
in our Mission yards. Up to the 25th January I learn that he 
has spent over eight hundred pounds sterling in their support ; 
and he names £3,000 as the minimum of what is needed for the 
people there. He himself considers this an under-estimate, 
looking at the problem only from the limited knowledge he had 
at his command ; and I am sure that it is. Five thousand for 
those in Urmia and five thousand for those who have fled, seems 
to me a more reasonable estimate. Ten thousand pounds is 
a big sum to ask, especially at this time, when so many other 
portions of the world are stretching out their hands to our country 
for aid ; but most of these have many eloquent tongues to 
voice their cry, while for this people, that have hved so far away 
among fanatical Moslem masters, who is there to speak ? I 
can only hope that this little story of their sufferings may bring 
some relief, even if it is not the sum asked and so much needed. 
I wish I might hope that others would help in this work ; but 
the French Mission has httle assistance to give, and the Orthodox 
Mission, that has made a big bid for the friendship of this 
people, seems to have completely flattened out. I doubt 
whether anything can be hoped for from that source, and I 
am very sure that nothing will be given in a large unsectarian 
way. And so it appears to me that we of America are the only 
ones that can be relied upon to come to the assistance of this 
old historic people, who have now endured the heaviest blow that 
has fallen upon them for centuries. 

There is one other matter. I have said that we must reserve 
our help for the time when these people return home ; money 
given them here, unless it be in very large sums, can do no good. 
You, however, have suggested that £200, given through me to 
the heads of the Relief Committees of the Caucasus to be used 
for these Persian refugees, might do more than anything else 
to quicken their own assistance to this unfortunate people. The 
reasons you have given for this judgment have seemed to me 
strong ones, and I have telegraphed to-day to our headquarters, 
stating the facts. If any such funds are sent, I shall ask you 
to help me in giving the money in such a manner as shall produce 
the best results. In the meantime I wish to thank you most 
cordially for all that you have done to assist me in this good 
work. 



[28] 



110 



BEHIND THE RUSSIAN FRONT. 



29. AZERBAIJAN, BEHIND THE RUSSIAN FRONT : EXTRACTS 
FROM A SERIES OP LETTERS BY THE REV. ROBERT M. 
LABAREE ; COMMUNICATED BY THE BOARD OF FOREIGN 
MISSIONS OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN THE U.S.A. 

(a) Letter dated Tabriz, 12th March, 1915 (to Mr. Labaree's mother). 

Sad news. The Kurds driven back from Khoi massacred 
800 Syrian and Armenian men with cruel torture. This in the 
plain of Salmas. In Urmia the largest and wealthiest Syrian 
village, Gulpashan, which had been spared by payments of large 
sums of money, was given over to plunder by the returning 
Kurds. The men of the village were all taken out to the 
cemetery and killed ; the women and girls treated barbarously. 
Sixty men were taken out of the French Mssion, where they 
had taken refuge, and shot. Others have been hanged. The 
S\Aiss teacher of the missionaries' children has died of typhoid. 
I have been asked to go to Urmia, but every way is blocked. 
Please let Mr. Speer know facts. 

(b) Letter dated Tabriz, 13th March, 1915 (to Mr. Speer). 

Dr. Shedd's latest communication speaks for itself and reveals 
a terrible condition of things at Urmia. This condition, I fear, 
has been rendered even more acute in the two weeks since the 
btter was written by the defeat of the Turks and Kurds near 
Salmas. At that time all the remaining Christian refugees in 
DiHman (the chief town of Salmas) suffered terribly. All the 
males above twelve years of age were taken to two neighbouring 
villages, tortured and shot. Their number is estimated at 800. 
The women were to be made Moslems, but the entrance of the 
Russians into the town the next day prevented that. I doubt 
not but that the retreating Kurds will wish to do the same thing 
as they pass through Urmia. One is perfectly helpless at such 
a time. The Consuls are acting in concert, but what can they 
do ? The only salvation seems to be that the Russian army may 
advance soon to Urmia, but for military reasons this may be 
out of the question. 

My own visit to Urmia has been stopped for the present by 
events. There is no possible way of my reaching Urmia, unless 
the Consul should go and I should accompany him. 

(c) Letter dated Diliman, 19th April, 1915 (to the Presbyterian Missions 

Board, New York). 

There seems no more prospect now than when I last wrote of 
any measures being taken by the Russian authorities to reheve 
the Urmia situation. If any plans are afoot for the occupation 
of the city they are not at all in evidence, and I am persuaded that 
a good many things must happen elsewhere beiore the local 
conditions will be materially changed. 

Recently a Mr. McGowan, a reporter of the Associated Press, 
fresh from America, arrived here — all interest over the situation. 

[29] 



MR. LAB A REE. 



Ill 



He was most anxious to reach Urmia, if any way could be found 
to get in and any assurance be given that he could return. We 
decided upon a perfectly open policy. With the consent of the 
Russian officers here, we secured a messenger and sent him directly 
to the Turkish Consul in Urmia, asking for guards and safe 
conduct, from a point just beyond the pass to the city, and return. 
In our letter to the Consul we enclosed an open letter to Will 
Shedd, asking his advice in the matter. Indirectly we hear 
that our messenger was put under arrest (lest, I suppose, he 
should undertake to return), and no answer has been sent to our 
request ; while, on the other hand, horsemen were despatched to 
a midway point to escort into the city some Persians who had 
sent a request very much like our own by the same messenger. 
It is no use making any more efforts to get inside this chestnut 
burr, until through God's Providence it opens itself. I am here 
to render what help I can, and while as yet I have been able to 
do nothing, yet perhaps it will be given me later to give some 
httle assistance to our poor, tired, beleaguered friends in Urmia. 
Mr. McGowan has gone back to the Caucasus. It was a pleasure 
to get sight of an American face and have a fresh whiff from the 
outside world. 

The news that comes to us from across the Turkish border is 
far from pleasant. The many hundreds (and perhaps some 
thousands) of Armenians and Syrians in the region of Bashkala 
have been massacred. The Armenians and Kurds in and about 
Van have begun to fight. In the mountains Mar Shimun is 
said to have gathered the independent tribes about him, and 
they are battling for their lives against great odds. These are 
the near-by places. What is going on inside Turkey, God only 
knows. 

Yesterday I assembled about fift}^ Armenians from the 
neighbourhood of Bashkala in a near-by village for a service. 
They were all men in the employment of the Russian army when it 
withdrew from there several months ago. They had to come 
away with the troops, leaving behind their families and all that 
they possessed. They feel certain that their wives and children 
have been massacred or else taken away to a captivity worse 
than death. When one stands before such an audience, the 
words that are so easy to speak at other times fail one. Is there 
any balm in Gilead for such wounds ? Is there any power to- 
take away from the hearts of these men the sorrow and the 
rankling spirit of revenge ? May God never put me in a position 
like that, or else may he give me more grace than I now possess. 

When one knows that three-fourths of the Moslems of this 
district, if not nine-tenths of them, were implicated in the plunder 
of Christian villages, and that many of them were parties to 
worse crimes, it is hard to have the same zest for work among 
them. But now that the way to Urmia seems barred for the 
present, I am planning to plunge into that work. Just now the 

[29] 



112 



BEHIND THE RUSSIAN FRONT. MR. LAB A REE. 



Moslems here are so alarmed lest they suffer for what they have 
done that they are ready to listen to almost anything a Christian 
may say. It is a pity that in so many cases this willingness has 
no higher motive. 

(d) Letter dated Tabriz, 6th May, 1915 (to the Presbyterian Missions Board, 
New York). 

Just a word to report that I am safe at home. My departure 
from Sahnas was most sudden and exciting. An overwhelming 
force of Turks and Kurds attacked the place, and in the course 
of manoeuvres we were nearly caught between the two firing- 
lines. It is not an experience that often comes to one, nor is it 
one that one wants repeated. With hundreds of other refugees, 
now twice plundered, we made our way to Djoulfa, and from there 
I cams here. 



[29] 



TABRIZ. MR. JESSUP. 



113 



30. TABRIZ : LETTER DATED TABRIZ, 17th MARCH, 1915, FROM 
THE REV. F. N. JESSUP ; COMMUNICATED BY THE BOARD 
OF FOREIGN MISSIONS OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH 
IN THE U.S.A. 

On the 1st November (1914) Turkey declared a " Djihad," 
or Holy War, against the Allies, and it was soon evident that 
she would try to stir up other Moslem nations. In December 
a small force of Turkish troops crossed into Persia at Soudjboulak, 
south of Urmia, but we thought nothing of it, knowing that the 
Russian forces here would be able to cope with them. But on 
the last day of December it became evident that the Russians 
were actually about to withdraw from here, and there was a 
panic among the Armenians and other native Christians. Day 
and night the poor Armenians fled out of the city towards the 
Russian border, and out of 750 or more famihes only about 250 
were left, most of these being the poorest people. From the 
first we were beset by people asking to be allowed to take refuge 
with us. We had permission to admit those who were connected 
with us, and, in addition, had to make arrangements to receive 
all the Europeans who might need protection. It was decided 
that all the missionaries should come to this compound, where 
the Memorial School and men's dispensary are located. You 
can imagine the rush and work of the first days of January — all 
the school-rooms to be cleared of everything so as to be ready 
for the crowds of people so anxious to get in, people to be inter- 
viewed day and night, rules to be made as to who and what were 
to be admitted, our own houses to be made ready for the advent 
of the missionary families. For example, my house, in which 
I had been living alone on Friday, by Saturday night contained 
five families, consisting of ten adults and seven children ; and 
whereas up to that time Dr. Vanneman and I had been having 
our meals alone, now in my dining-room all the Americans ate 
together, nineteen adults and a number of children ! By this 
time almost all the Europeans had left the city, including the 
Consuls of the Allied Powers ; the banks were closed and the Indo- 
European telegraph office was shut. The Europeans who were 
left in the city came to us for refuge, all except one family of 
Italians and a few Germans, Austrians and Turkish subjects 
who thought they would be safe. But even these asked to have 
a place reserved in case of need, for no one knew what might 
happen when a horde of undisciplined Kurds entered the city. 
Not only this, but a number of prominent Mohammedans came 
to ask protection, and very many more left the city to flee to 
Teheran, knowing that they might be molested or blackmailed. 

On Tuesday, the 5th January, the Russian troops left the 
city and encamped on its outskirts ; the next day they started 
north towards Djoulfa, and on Friday, the 8th, the Turks and 
Kurds entered. For the next three weeks they were in possession 
of Tabriz. We were cut off from the outside world, without 

[30] 



114 



TABRIZ. 



news of what was occurring elsewhere, practically shut up in 
this compound with the four hundred who had taken refuge 
with us. We had as our guests Belgians from the Customs and 
Finance Departments, French Catholic Sisters with forty or 
fifty of their school-children, two German ladies Avho had been 
sick and unable to go with the rest of the German colony, a 
Russian lad}^ and two American Seventh Day Adventist 
missionaries from Maragha, but most of the people Avere Armenian 
and Nestorian. As you see, they were of all nationalities and 
reUgions, but all lived together in the greatest goodwill, and things 
moved with a remarkable lack of trouble or friction. 

We had planned to observe the regular Week of Prayer 
with nightly services in our church, but our church had to be 
abandoned, for almost every Christian from that quarter of the 
city had fled, and no one dared to stir out of doors after dark. 
But we were given a greater opportunity. Instead of a week's 
services attended by fifty or sixty people, we had Evangelistic 
services in the assembly room of the Memorial School every night 
for a full four weeks, with a hundred to a hundred and fifty in 
attendance, and all listening with the most earnest attention. 
And as we had with us refugee families from Soudjboulak, 
Maragha and other places, we had a chance to preach the Gospel 
to those rarely, if ever, reached by the truth. Instead of having 
to seek a congregation, we had it ready within our gates, and 
one composed of those whose hearts were softened in the fact 
of our common danger and life together. 

As the time went on, the blackmail and plundering on the 
part of the Kurds grew worse and people became more anxious. 
It was indeed a welcome day when the sound of cannon and 
machine guns was heard to the north, and it appeared that 
the Russians were returning to deliver the city. This they did 
on the 3()th January, and so well had the campaign been arranged 
that the fleeing Kurds were cut off from the city after the battle, 
and so could not loot or kill on their retreat, as many had feared 
they might. And thus in God's providence the city was relieved, 
and we and the many lives entrusted to us were kept safe from 
harm during that trying time. 

When the roads were once again open and word reached 
us from other places, we began to hear of the terrible plight of 
the Christians of other places, especially Urmia and Salmas. 
When suddenly and unexpectedly the native Christians of those 
places heard that the Russian army was immediately to be 
withdrawn, they knew that their only safety from the cruelties 
of the approaching Kurds lay in flight. Men, women and little 
children were obliged to start off at once, in mid-winter, moat 
of them on foot, unable to make preparation or to carry sufficient 
food, clothing, or bedding, and to flee in terror of their lives 
through snow and deep mud, wading through streams and toiling 
over the mountains and across plains covered with almost 

[301 



MR. JESSUP. 



115 



impassable mire, till at last they might reach Djoulfa on the Russian 
frontier, nearly 150 miles away. The story of the horror of that 
flight will probably never be fully told. From Urmia 17,000 or 
18,000 must have fled. When they reached the Salmas plain, 
their numbers were swelled by thousands of Armenian Christians 
fleeing thence. Men who went through the experience tell us 
that the events of those days are indescribable. On the edge 
of the Salmas plain multitudes could find no lodging and had 
to sleep in the snow. Some children were carried off by wolves, 
and many more died before morning. And then the march of 
those days ! Up before daylight, struggling in the snow and 
slush and darkness to find and keep to the road through the 
mountain passes, hurrying on ever, knowing that at the end of 
the day only those who first arrived could be sure of finding 
shelter for the next night ; parents becoming separated from 
each other and from their children in the darkness or in the mass 
of hurrying people, unable to find them again, but hoping that 
they might meet at the end of the day ; people throwing away 
the quilts or other necessary bedding they had brought because 
physically unable to carry them ; the road strewn with abandoned 
goods ; the weak and sick faUing by the wayside, many never 
to rise again ; men become as beasts in the common struggle 
just to live. At night many would arrive long after dark at 
the appointed stopping-place only to find every caravanserai 
and lodging so full that they would be forced to spend the night 
out of doors. Those within fared little better, crowded in so 
tightly that often they could neither lie nor sit down, but had 
to remain standing all night in rooms with every door and window 
shut, and the air so foul that the winter's cold without seemed 
preferable. And at such stopping-places exhausted mothers and 
fathers were anxiously going from house to house and group 
to group, seeking their lost children. The fugitives have many 
terrible tales to tell. By the time they had reached Khoi their 
plight was desperate, but beyond Khoi their sufferings were 
increased by the deep mire through which they had to struggle. 
One of our Christian workers from Urmia told me that with his 
own eyes he saw a man go up to his mother, who had sunk ex- 
hausted in the mud, and shoot her through the head, rather than 
leave her to die by degrees or to be killed by wolves. They tell 
of a family who started from Urmia — an aged father and his two 
married daughters, each carrying two children, one on her back 
and the other in her arms. There, in the mire beyond Khoi, the 
. father could no longer go on and had to be left, and one of the 
women gave birth to a child. She wrapped the new-born babe 
in a piece of cloth torn from her dress, and taking it in her arms 
struggled on, but the other two children had to be abandoned 
like their grandfather. On arriving at Djoulfa these women 
found their husbands, who had been in Tiflis and had hurried 
down to meet the fugitives. There for several anxious days 



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116 



TABRIZ. 



they waited, hoping for news of the lost children. The fathers 
had been away long, and conld not be sure of recognizing them, 
and the mothers were too exhausted to return. At last some 
soldiers came in with a waggon full of lost children whom they 
had rescued, and among them were the two little ones. But 
they had suffered so from exposure that in a few days they both 
died. The grandfather had perished in the mire. 

Mr. Labaree, of our station, left for the Caucasus as soon as 
the way was open, to find out conditions and see what we could 
do to help the poor refugees. There are 70,000 or more reported 
in those regions, not only from Persia, but from Turkey and the 
border. The Armenians of the Caucasus had organised relief 
committees, and the Government was also helping. The average 
grant was about 2d. or V^d. per adult a day. The villagers 
among whom those thousands of absolutely destitute strangers 
were distributed were very kind, but the burden was ver}^ heavy 
for them. Mr. Labaree said that the poor fugitives were in a 
pitiable state. Sickness had followed the exposure and strain — 
scarlet fever and other diseases — and in almost every room he 
visited he heard of four or five children who had died. 

But the condition of those who did not, or could not, flee 
from the Urmia and Salmas plains has been even worse. In 
Urmia about 12,000 tookrefuge in the three compounds belonging 
to our Mission, while 3,000 more were in the French Catholic 
Mission. Here most of them have remained since the 1st January, 
but some have withdrawn to yards adjoining ours, some have 
been taken out by force and killed by the Turks, and many have 
died. Urmia has been entirely cut off from us. A few letters 
and messages they have succeeded in sending through, and from 
these we have learned something of their condition. At the first 
arrival of the Kurds and Turks, most of the people remaining 
in the Christian villages fled to the Mission for protection. Of 
those who stayed in the villages, many girls and women were 
carried off by the Mohammedans and many men killed. In 
those first days of January, about ten thousand were crowded 
into our compound at Urmia city. In the church there were 
three thousand, so many that they could not lie down to sleep. 
At the beginning from ten to twenty-five were dying daily in 
our city compound, and a httle later the mortality increased to 
from twenty-five to forty a day. At first it was not possible 
to take the bodies out of the grounds for burial. Later, when 
they were able to secure some adjoining yards, conditions became 
a little better. Dr. Packard, hearing that a large Cliristian 
village was being attacked by the Kurds, rode out there and, at 
the risk of his life, made his way to the Kurdish chiefs and then 
to the village, and persuaded the Kurds to spare the lives of the 
people on condition of their surrendering their goods. Thus, by 
ills influence with the Kurds, won by many medical services in 



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MR. J ESS UP, 



117 



the past, he was able to save nearly a thousand poor people from 
massacre and conduct them that night to the city. 

All these thousands have had to be fed and cared for. It 
has meant a daily expenditure of from £50 to £55 sterling for 
the three tons of bread distributed each day. Some of the 
wealthy fugitives to Russia left money with the Missionaries 
on their departure, with permission to borroAV it and use it if 
necessary, and in this way they were able to get on up to the 
last reports, for we have been unable in any way to reach them 
or send them money. But it is now nearly a month since we have 
received authentic news from the Missionaries at Urmia. At 
that time they reported the situation as very grave. We have 
heard that a Turkish officer and several men entered our Mission 
grounds by force, beat Mr. Allen twice because he could not 
tell them of the whereabouts of some men they sought, and 
carried off several men to kill them. From the Catholic Mission, 
in the same way, some forty men were taken and massacred. 
In a village whose people had from the first been peaceful and 
had paid a large sum for protection, 51 (others report 85) men 
were seized, taken outside and butchered, and then the soldiers 
returned to outrage the women and girls, not even little children 
being spared. 

For three weeks Mr. Labaree has been in Salmas, hoping that 
a Eussian expeditionary force might be sent to rescue the Urmia 
Christians and that he might be able to go over to help the 
Missionaries, who must be greatly worn by the strain and by 
their work. But as yet he has neither been able to go nor to send 
or receive any word, nor are there any signs of a rescue. 

This is the most awful calamity which has befallen the 
Nestorian people in the ninet}^ years of our mission work among 
them. About 1,000 had been killed and 2,000 had died of disease 
or fear up to the middle of March, just in Urmia itself, and the 
Nestorians here estimate that perhaps as many more died on the 
flight to Russia or have died since. This w^ould mean a fifth 
or a sixth of the 30,000 Nestorians who five on the Urmia plain. 
Their prosperous villages have all been pillaged and most of 
them burned, and their churches destroyed. Of the survivors, 
half are refugees in great want in the Caucasus, the rest remain 
in Urmia in conditions of peril and fear and need which wring 
one's heart. Already over £4,000 sterling must have been spent 
by the Missionaries in Urmia to preserve the lives of those taking 
refuge with them. As soon as it becomes in the least safe, they 
must be helped to return to their ruined homes and villages 
to make a fresh start. Two months ago Mr. Labaree appealed 
to America for at least £10,000 sterling as the smallest sum required, 
and as time goes on it becomes evident that more will be needed. 
Thus far about £2,400 has been received from the American Red 
Cross and our Board, £30 from our missionaries in Hamadan, 
and £20 from the English missionaries at Ispahan. Of course 

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IKS 



TABRIZ. MR. J ESS UP. 



we here are trying to help too. These poor distressed Nestorians 
are the especial charge of our American Presbyterian Church, 
which has laboured so many years for their good, and there is 
little hope of help for them in this hour when so many nations 
are in trouble, except in so far as we help them. 

And it is not only the Christians of Urmia that are in great 
need. Those of the village of Miandoab (Armenians, these), 
have similarly lost everj^thing. The Kurds still occupy their 
town, and they are refugees in Maragha and Tabriz. At Maragha 
the Armenians have suffered greatly, for most of them had to 
flee, and noAV they have the burden of all the refugees from 
Miandoab and other villages. And in Salmas it is worse. All 
the Christian villages on that plain have been smoked. Most 
of the Christians fled when the army withdrew in January, but 
some remained behind and these sought the protection of their 
Moslem neighbours. But a few days before the return of the 
Russian army to Salmas, when the Turks saw that they would 
be compelled to flee, they secured the names of all Christians by 
a ruse, pretending that all who registered would be protected. 
Then they gathered all the men into one place and carried them 
out in companies of about twenty-five, each to be shot down in 
cold blood. Others were tied with their heads sticking through 
the rungs of a ladder and decapitated, others hacked to pieces 
or mutilated before death. In this way practically every Christian 
man remaining in Salmas was massacred. You can imagine 
the fate of girls and women. The most detailed report received, 
signed by a number of men now on the ground, stated that from 
712 to 720 men were thus killed in Salmas. 



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URMIA. DIARY OF A MISSIONARY. 



119 



31. URMIA DURING THE TURCO-KURDISH OCCUPATION : DIARY 
OF A MISSIONARY, EDITED BY MISS MARY SCHAUFFLER 
PLATT. AND PUBLISHED BY THE BOARD OF FOREIGN 
MISSIONS OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN THE U.S.A. 

Urmia, Persia, Saturday, 9t7i January, 1915. 

I want to start a letter telling you of the events of the last 
week, though I cannot tell when it will reach you. As you know, 
the Russians had taken possession of this part of Persia, and 
were maintaining order here, so that for the last year conditions 
were more orderly, peaceful and prosperous than for long years 
before. They had a consul here who was very capable, and 
tried to do justice to all. 

When war was declared between Russia and Turkey, we 
knew that this meant war for Urmia, for we are right on the 
Turkish border, and only a few years ago Turkey tried to get 
this section for herself, but failed. We were told by the Russians 
in authority here that they would hold Urmia against all odds, 
so the city was fortified by trenches and defences on every side, 
and several thousand reinforcements came. 

On New Year's Day, according to our custom, we received 
our friends. As many as a hundred and forty of our Moslem 
and Christian friends, men and women, called " to bless our 
New Year." On Saturday, the 2nd, Hke a thunderbolt from 
a clear sky, we were informed that the whole Russian army was 
withdrawing ; some had gone in the night, the rest would leave 
immediately. There was a panic at once among the Christian 
(Syrian and Armenian) population.* The Osmanlis, or Turks 
and Kurds, were but a few miles away, and the Christians were 
absolutely defenceless. 

At once, as soon as the Russians had gone, with large numbers 
of Syrians and Armenians leaving at the same time, the evil- 
minded Moslems all over the plain began to plunder the Christian 
villages. When the people were trying to flee to the missionaries 
in the city, they were robbed on the roads of everything they 
had, even of their outer clothing. In some of the villages the 
Moslem masters placed guards to prevent the people from going 
themselves or bringing their possessions to the city, saying 
they would protect them. When they tried to get away, these 
same guards robbed and stripped them. 

The crowds had begun to pour in at our gates on Sunday ; 
the city people were taken in by night and many others from near 
by. On Sunday morning we put up the American flags over 
the entrances. On Monday morning Dr. Packard, with American 
and Turkish flags, accompanied by two Syrians, started out to 
meet the leading Kurdish chief. He arrived at Geogtapa in 
time to prevent a terrible massacre. The people of Geogtapa 

* Note by Miss Piatt. — The term Syrian, as used here, appUes to the 
Christian nation who speak the Syriac language, and who are Nestorians 
by religious belief. In America they call themselves Persian-Assyrians. 

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I'iO 



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who had not fled to the city had gone to our church and the 
Russian church, both of which are situated on a high hill formed 
of ashes, a rehc of Zoroastrian times. The churchyards are 
enclosed by high mud walls. All finally went to the Russian 
church, which was on the highest ground. They barricaded the 
strong doors, and, when the Kurds attacked, the men defended 
the fort with their guns and the women crowded hke sheep into 
the church. When Dr. Packard arrived, a Lively battle was 
going on, with httle chance for the Christians. He had great 
difficulty in getting to the chiefs without being shot ; but he 
finally reached them, and they knew him. Some of these Kurds 
had spent weeks in our hospital and had been operated upon 
by Dr. Packard, so they Hstened to him while he pleaded for the 
fives of the people inside. After several hours' entreaty, they 
agreed to let the people go with him if they would give up their 
guns and ammunition. 

I was talking yesterday with Lay ah, our Bible Woman, who 
was inside the church. She said that when Dr. Packard first tried 
to signal to them, they did not know him and kept on firing, but 
when they recognized him a shout went up : " It's the Hakim 
Sahib ! Thank God ! We are saved ! " I asked her what the 
Kurds did when they came out, and she said they stood by and 
helped them, saying : " Come on ! Come on ! Don't be afraid ! " 
In the rush, Lay ah fell and broke her arm, and is now lying on 
Miss Lamme's sofa resting. 

All Monday the refugees had been coming in, until it seemed 
that every room and storeroom was full, many of the rooms 
not lying-down full but sitting-up full. But that night, when 
Dr. Packard came, he brought over fifteen hundred more 
with him, and they had to be stowed away. This is Saturday, 
the sixth day these thousands have been here in our yards, not 
less than ten thousand — perhaps twelve or fourteen thousand. 
We have taken several small yards and houses adjoining ours, 
and the Engfish Mission yard adjoining the seminary yard is 
also full. Of course, the two Enghshmen of the English Mission 
had to leave with the Russian army, and with them a large number 
of prominent Syrians who had been sympathizers with Russia. 
Here in the city there has been plundering and some destruction 
of property, but no general disorder — unless it be in the Armenian 
quarter. The fine brick quarters which were built as barracks 
for the Russian army I understand have remained intact, because 
the invaders are afraid to go near them for fear they may be 
mim d. 

From the first the Sheikh promised protection to us and our 
people, and when the OsmanH officers came they immediately 
took possession of the city, and have tried to keep order and 
prevent plundering by Moslems. The other day a Moslem, 
terribly wounded by a Turkish guard while robbing, was brought 
here for treatment. This is an illustration of our position : Here 

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121 



is a Mussulman thief, plundering Christians, shot by the Osmanli 
guard, and then brought to us by his friends that we might care 
for him. 

Although we were promised safety for all within our gates 
there is no certainty. On Wednesday morning I lay in bed a 
httle longer than usual, and about half-past seven suddenly an 
awful cry of fear and despair went up from thousands of throats, 
and the crow^ds rushed toward the church, then swayed back, 
not knowing whither to fly. From the church, where human 
beings are packed in hke sardines, they began jumping from the 
windows. My first thought was that the Kurds had broken 
in through our back gate, which opens into the Moslem quarter, 
and that the massacre was about to begin ; but the poor, terrified 
people soon quieted, and before I could get dressed I knew it 
must have been a false alarm. The poor, hunted creatures think 
that if they can only hold to the skirts of a missionary they will be 
safe. 

On Thursday, Hannah, the wife of one of our pastors, reached 
us after great suffering and exposure. They lived in Nazi, and 
heard the report that the Russians were leaving. They couldn't 
believe it, but on Sunday afternoon Kurds from the west came 
and began plundering. The people all fled to a walled village, 
because they thought they might be safer there and because our 
preacher there. Kasha Oner (Preacher Abner), had many fritnds 
among the Kurds, being a mountaineer. On Monday, a Kurd 
visited them, pretending that he had been sent by the Turks from 
the city, telling them they need have no fear, as they would be 
protected ; but it became evident that he was a spy. Afterwards 
a band of Kurds came, demanded the guns, and drank tea with 
the people ; then others came and they began robbing and 
kilhng. The people gathered together like a flock of frightened 
sheep, and many were slaughtered. The greater part of them got 
through the great gateway while the Kurds were plundering, and 
that night they spent in the mountains without food or shelter and 
with very little covering. One of our girls, Katie, who had gone 
home on Friday for her Christmas vacation, was among them. 
She saw her mother murdered and had to leave her body lying 
by the gate as they ran. The next morning more than four 
hundred of them started towards the city, cold, hungry, exhausted ; 
many, having lost their shoes in their flight, had frozen and bleed- 
ing feet. Hannah came here, her feet were dressed, and she is 
lying comfortably on a mattress on Miss Lamme's floor. Her 
husband and daughter were already here. The rest of the party 
were taken in at our College compound, two miles west of the 
city. 

The pitiful tales we hear of murder, of narrow escape through 
snow and mud, hungry, sick and cold, are numberless. 

Monday, llth January, 1915. 

Several families from Degala are eamped in our parlouj*, 

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122 



URMIA. 



and the iiight before last Victoria, one of the women, came to 
me and said an old woman had just come in who didn't seem 
able to answer anything she asked her. I found her crouched in 
a corner of the hall. She said she was so cold. At first she 
couldn't eat, but after drinking some tea she improved. We had 
absolutely no place but a stone floor for her ; but we took up a 
carpet from my bedroom, rolled her up in it in the upper hall- 
way, and she went to sleep. She was the janitress of our church 
in Barbaroud, fifteen miles to the south. The Kurds did their 
worst there several days ago, and she had escaped, barefooted, 
almost naked, and without food. She died a day or two later. 

. One poor woman, who had both husband and son Idlled, 
has gone crazy, and we haven't any place to put her but a dark 
closet under the stairway. At midnight I was awakened by her 
pounding on the door. She has a nursing baby. Thank God, 
to-day they took her to the hospital, where they can care for 
her a Httle better than here. (She died two days later.) At the 
College compound, where the hospital is, they have only about 
two thousand, and we have perhaps twelve thousand, and every 
day more are coming. Those who have been hiding with Moslem 
friends are coming to us day by day, and we haven't any place 
to put them. We have not been able to take the dead from our 
yards, so we are burying them in the Uttle yard by the side of the 
church — twenty-seven so far. Some die every day, and there 
is no shroud or coffin for them. 

Evening, 

We have just had a Praise Meeting in the parlour with fifty 
or sixty who could gather from the halls and rooms near, and 
we feel more cheerful. We thought if Paul and Silas, wdth their 
stripes, could sing praises in prison, so could we. 

Wednesday, ISth January. 

Since Monday, the 4th, we have been giving out bread. In 
the morning we sell to those who have money, and in the afternoon 
give free bread to those who cannot buy, disposing of over four 
tons of bread a day. Practically all the refugees from the city 
have their own food, and some from the villages, too. We buy 
our bread from the bazaar (market), and a very efficient and 
wilKng young Syrian has been attending to the weighing and 
giving out, while groups of other young men have been selUng 
and distributing. The only things we have had for carrying the 
bread are our clothes-baskets and old tin bath-tubs, and they are 
doing good service. We have received some gifts of food for the 
refugees from Moslems. One man gave over six hundred pounds 
of meat, which we cooked and gave out in one section, but it is 
very difficult to distribute anything except bread among so large 
a number. I am speaking only of what we are doing here in this 
compound, where by far the larger number of refugees are. They 
are doing similar work in Sardari (the Boys'-School premises)" 

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DIARY OF A MISSIONARY. 



123 



and at the College compound. Mr. McDowell is looking after 
sanitary conditions and the streams of water flowing through 
the yards, which furnish the only drinking water for the crowds, 
and conditions are much improved. 

There are hundreds of mountaineers who have no place to 
go to. Before this affair they were distributed among the villages, 
and we had established a number of schools especially for them. 
These people had been driven from their homes by the Kurds 
early in the autumn. Many of them seem little better than 
animals — dirty, lazy, satisfied with any hole to lie in and just 
enough bread to keep their stomachs comfortable. Of course, 
they are not all of this sort, but we have several hundred that are. 
They are chiefly crowded into the church and our large school- 
room. The people who are suffering most are those who have 
been accustomed to the comforts and decencies of hfe, who are 
crowded together Uke cattle, without sufficient clothing or food. 

The day after the flight from Geogtapa we went with a basket 
of bread to one of the larger rooms of the Press, which was filled 
with self-respecting people who had the day before been in 
comfortable circumstances, but who had fled with nothing, or 
had been robbed of whatever they had tried to bring with them. 
When they saw the bread for distribution, they began to cry and 
cover their faces, and we had to drop the bread into their laps — 
they didn't reach out for it. Of course, we assured them that, 
under such circumstances, it was no shame to eat the bread of 
charity. 

When the people began to flee, they wanted to deposit their 
money with us, and our Treasurer accepted it on condition that 
we could use it without interest and repay it when normal con- 
ditions are restored. It is with this money that we have been 
enabled to buy bread and save these people from starvation. 

Children are being born every day. We have managed to 
give two small rooms to these women, many of whom haven't 
even a quilt. Children were born even in the crowded church. 
One of the women who was reporting these cases complained in 
a very aggrieved tone that some were " even bringing two," 
as if one wasn't enough to satisfy anybody under existing circum- 
stances. 

This is the first day that we have been able to get donkeys 
to haul away the refuse. I hope we shall soon be able to take the 
dead to the cemetery. 

Thursday, lUh January. 

Mr. Allen returned last evening from his journey to the villages 
of the Nazlu river. Several thousand fled towards Russia ; 
many have hidden with Moslems, who are now trying to force 
them to become Mohammedans and to give their girls in marriage 
to Moslems. In Ada perhaps as many as a hundred were killed, 
most of them young men. It is told that they were stood up in 
line, one behind another, by the Kurds, to see how many one 

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124 



URMIA. 



bullet would kill. I went down to see the woman in the room 
under mine who had received word of the killing of her brother 
in Karadjalu. Everywhere there is wailing and sadness, and 
her lamentation for her dead brother is the wail of thousands of 
hearts : — 

"Oh, Yeremia (Jeremiah), my brother! 

The pillar of our house; a father to us all, ah, Yeremia, Yeremia! 
Thou didst comfort us all! A giant in body and giant in spirit. 
Oh, Yeremia, my brother, oh, my brother, Yeremia, my heart is broken 
for thee ! 

My brother! Oh, my brother, thy house is left desolate; thy little ones 
orphans. 

Oh, Yeremia, Yeremia! thou wert a righteous man, merciful to the poor! " 
Saturday, IQtth January. 

Yesterday some Abijalu people were in, asking for bread, 
although a week ago they were among the well-to-do. The same 
story of robbery, exposure and horror. When a Kurd tried to 
carry off Shamasha Sayad's daughter, she jumped into the well 
and stayed there for hours in water up to her chin. Some one said 
a few days ago, " Blessed are the dead," and I echoed the 
sentiment. 

Mond ay, 1 8^^ J anuary. 

In the midst of panic, distress and death, we have had two 
weddings. Both had been arranged to take place on the Syrian 
New Year, the 14th January. Dr. Shedd performed the ceremony 
in both cases. Both brides had their trousseaux ready, but felt 
these were not proper times for the display of finery, so wore 
ordinary dresses. 

These last few days a number of the city families have returned 
in fear and trembling to their homes, taking just a very few things 
with them. This is relieving the overcrowded rooms somewhat, 
and Miss Schoebel this afternoon is trying to drive the people 
out into the sunshine long enough to have the rooms swept — or, 
rather, shovelled. It consumes all one's energies to try to get 
anyone to do anything. All the responsibility and much of the 
actual labour has devolved upon the missionaries. Of course, 
many of our best men fled to Russia, and among those who are 
left there are few leaders. There are some notable exceptions, 
though, both here and at the College — e.g., Jacob David, who 
without missionary assistance has charge of eight hundred and 
fifty refugees and is doing finely. Another, a young shopkeeper, 
has had charge of the weighing and distribution of bread, with 
much of the buying, from the beginning. He has done the work 
with surprising efficiency and self-devotion. Bands of young 
men have been ready, day after day, for distributing bread. The 
nights have been divided into three watckes, and groups of men 
have taken their turns in acting as watchmen. Mr. Nisan, 
who has charge of the English Mission yard, one night found the 
watchmen asleep, so the next day they were tied to trees, and 
a placard placed over them with the inscriptioji " IJnfa,ithful 

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DIARY OF A MISSIONARY. 



125 



Watchmen," as a warning to others. Guarding the streams is 
a very necessary and a very difficult task. Mr. McDowell finds 
it extremely hard to get anyone among the hundreds of Syrians 
here who can be trusted to oversee such work, or who can be 
kept on a job longer than an hour or so at a time. 

We are urging some now to return to their homes. Many 
are so afraid, and we cannot give them assurance of safety. Some 
Kurds have gone, but many are still about. The people come 
to the individual missionaries and beg for just one small room 
for their families, each one with his own special plea. When 
we tell them the greatest danger for them just now is to remain 
crowded in such narrow bounds, it makes little or no appeal to 
them. They are nine-tenths fatalists any waj^ and think that 
it all depends upon the will of Allah." They say : " Let us 
die by the hand of God and not of the Kurds." 

We have been having unusually fine weather ; only two bad 
days, and they were not cold. A Mohammedan was heard to 
say : " Do you see how God loves these Christians ? Who ever 
saw such weather in the middle of winter ? " 

Dr. Shedd is the representative of our station before the 
Government ; he and Dr. Packard have had that end of the work, 
daily pleading before Persian and Osmanli authorities for the 
Christian population. It was told us that a prominent Moslem 
had said : " Dr. Shedd is the best Christian in the city ! Just 
see how he comes every day through the deep mud to plead for 
those people ! " 

Wednesday, 20th January. 

A few people from the city went to their homes, and our hopes 
began to rise ; but yesterday and to-day others came in from 
the Nazlu river and from Tchargousha. Thirty-six dead were 
carried to the trench in Mart Mary am * (St. Mary) churchyard 
yesterday ; the larger part of them were children. 

Lucy, daughter of Kasha (preacher) David of Ardishai, came 
in yesterday with her baby from Gulpashan, where they had 
been refugees for some time, living in terror of Kurds by day and 
night. They also feared the Moslem neighbours and the Turkish 
guards sent in to protect the village. Her own village was 
Tchargousha. In terror the people fled to the roofs as the village 
was surrounded by Kurds, and there was no avenue of escape. 
The Kurds came up on to the roofs and commanded the people 
to go down. Lucy, with one Kurd below her on the ladder and 
two above her, her baby on her back, got down. In the yard 
she saw her younger sister, Sherin, a pretty girl of about fifteen, 
being dragged away by a Kurd. She was imploring Lucy to save 
her, but Lucy was helpless. When she was telling me this with 
tears and sobs, she said : Every night, when I try to sleep, 
I hear her entreaties, ' Oh, Lucy, I'll be your sacrifice. Save 



Christian quarter of the city, adjoining the mission property. 

[31] 



126 



URMIA. 



me, Lucy ! ' I called to her, ' Pull your head-kerchief over your 
face ; don't look into their faces.' She tried to conceal her face, 
and daubed it with mud, but she has such beautiful dark eyes 
and rosy cheeks ! The Kurds grabbed the young women and 
girls, peering into their faces, till each one found a pretty one 
for himself, then dragged her away. If they had only killed my 
sister we could say, ' She is dead, like many another — it is finished' ; 
but that she should be in the hands of a Kurd — we cannot bear 
it ! " Some of these captives have been recovered, but there 
is no word of Sherin. 

Saturday, 23rd January. 

Yesterday we counted three thousand three hundred in the 
church, and many have gone out, so there must have been four 
thousand people there these last two weeks. Is it any wonder 
that children are dying by the score ? Morning and afternoon 
there are burials ; at other times the bodies are collected and 
laid in a room near the gate. To-daj^ Mr. McDowell succeeded 
after long efforts in getting a cart for scavenger work. It 
came but one day. We have not been able to get even donkeys, 
except five or six. The scavengers would not come into the yards 
of Christians for such work, even though Mr. McDowell offered 
to pay well. We cannot open our back windows, the stench is 
too dreadful. I suppose the mere mention of such things is quite 
shocking even to read ; but we have been living in such surround- 
ings for nearly three weeks, and see only a little light ahead. We 
are hoping w^e can distribute some of the mountain refugees in 
empty houses here in Mart Maryam and the Christian quarter. 

Many Moslems who pretended to accept food and goods of 
Christians for safe keeping, are now claiming them as their own. 
One of our preachers, after having been plundered of practically 
everything by his Moslem neighbours, was received as a refugee 
into one of their houses and was fed from his own dishes, of his 
own food, and put to sleep in his own bed. 

Dr. Packard has been gone for several days to the Nazlu 
villages, to gather together the remnants of the people scattered 
in Moslem villages, or in hiding, and to see if it be possible to put 
them into a few of their own places again. Most of the Kurds 
have left, but the Syrians are unarmed, and, just as from the 
beginning, their Moslem neighbours are their greatest enemies. 
If it isn't a Djihad (Holy War), it is very near it. It must have 
been planned beforehand, for there has been concerted action 
from one end of the plain to the other, though here and there 
some Moslems have been friendly throughout, have done many 
kindly deeds and saved many lives. 

Later. 

Just at this joint we had an interesting diversion, A ban. J 
of Turkish soldiers came into our yard and said they wanted to 
search our premises for wounded Russian soldiers. They Reajrched 

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the houses of the Aliens, the Miillers, and our house ; then the 
schools and all outside buildings and storehouses, even to the 
smallest closets. You might have thought they were searching 
for a lost hair from Osman's beard ! I have an idea they thought 
we were concealing arms or ammunition, . though ten days ago 
we collected all we could find anywhere among the people, and 
gave them up to the Osmanli commander. As we had nothing 
hidden, of course we had nothing to fear, though some of the 
people were scared. 

A dozen times a day I pray : " Oh, Lord, how long ? " All the 
first days it seemed as if it must be a horrible dream from which 
I would awake ; but it has become a three weeks' reality, with 
little hope of a near dawning. It looks as if our long night might 
stretch out till the dawn of peace in Europe. And for these things 
who shall answer, if not the Powers of Europe ? 

We have read that America has done so much for the sufferers 
in Europe ; surely they will not be too poor to help this little 
corner of misery, with its twenty-five or thirty thousand sufferers, 
and with absolutely no one on earth to look to but the American 
Mission ! For months we have not been permitted to write of 
conditions here, and now we are entirely shut off from the world, 
even from Tabriz. Anything we write " must be in French, 
just to sa}^ we are well." Our last word from Tabriz, the nearest 
mission station and residence of the American Consul, was written 
on the 31st December, and this is the 23rd Januar}^ 

Sunday, 2Uh January. 

The fourth Sunday, but no Sabbath. To-day nearly all the 
people were taken out of the church and distributed among the 
empty houses near the Russian Mission and in the old church. 
I went with some of the young men who are helping with the 
distribution of the bread to count the people in each place. In 
one house there were two hundred and fifty ; these are all 
mountaineers. We give to each one sheet or loaf of bread per 
day ; about ten ounces. Not very extravagant feeding, you see ! 

Tuesday, 26th January. 

On Sunday a Jew brought us word from Usknuk that Kasha 
David's daughter, Sherin, is there in the house of a Kurd, and 
that every effort is being made by gifts, persuasion and threats, 
to make her turn Mohammedan, but that she always answers * 
" You may kill me, but I will never deny my faith." We are 
making plans to try to get her back. Dr. Packard reported on 
his return from the Nazlu villages that in one place practically 
the whole population has become Moslem and have given up their 
church to be a mosque, while some even cursed their former faith. 
But, of course, such people never had any religion, and changing 
the name of it is a matter of convenience. 

Wednesday, 21th January. 

Miss Lamme and I went to-day to the Jewish quarters to 

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look up Syrian refugees there. We found them in large numbers 
in the Jewish houses, where they had been kept and in some cases 
fed. Yesterday the French Mission sent away from their yards 
two hundred and fifty or more persons, who first went to the 
Governor. He telephoned to Dr. Shedd, and we had to receive 
them. They were put into Dr. Israel's house in Dilgusha, outside 
the city walls. All the houses there have been completely 
plundered ; many have been robbed of doors and windows. No 
one thinks of returning to homes there, but a great many have 
returned to Mart Mary am. 

Later. 

Everywhere about the j^ards people are basking in the wonder- 
ful sunshine, which is more like April than January. The 
common sight everywhere is the everlasting hunt for vermin, 
friends and neighbours graciously assisting one another. I 
suppose it is a vulgar subject to mention, but we've got 'em," 
and must go on living in hourly contact with thousands of others 
who swarm with them. 

Friday, 5th February. 

We can't complain of the monotony of life, for we never 
know what will happen next. On Tuesday morning I had a 
wedding in my room here. The boy and girl were simple villagers. 
He had gone tQ Russia and brought back a little money, with 
some foreign clothes. Then his folks began to look round for 
a wife for him. He was betrothed several months ago to Anna 
of Ardishai, and, according to custom, gave her the money to 
buy her trousseau. For several weeks she had been sewing, 
until at last the wonderful silk dress, white silk head-kerchief, 
veil and all the necessaries, were ready. The wedding was fixed 
for the Syrian New Year ; but — the Kurds came and carried 
off wedding clothes and everything else in the house. They all 
fled here, and were married in the old, dirty garments they were 
wearing when they ran for their lives, for this was a month ago. 
In the flight the bride's mother was lost, probably killed, as 
nothing has been heard of her since. Their only present was a 
little tea and sugar that I tied up in a kerchief and gave to the 
bride, that they might invite a few friends to drink tea instead 
of eating the dinner they had intended giving. 

There are a great many people who have been accustomed 
to good living heretofore, but for months have had no cooked 
food, so I invited a number of these to dinner on W^ednesday. 
We had a meat stew, bread, cheese, pickles and tea, all they 
could eat. There were thirty-five for dinner, and twenty for 
supper. There was enough left over to feed fifty or more poor 
and sick ones outside. The whole thing cost about four dollars 
and fed a hundred people. We spread long cloths on the parlour 
floor and ate with wooden spoons from enamel plates borrowed 
for the occasion from the school. The matron and school-girls 
did the cooking and seryiing. 

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But for our next-door neighbours the scene quickly changed 
again from weddings and dinners to one of terror and flight by 

night. The house of Dr. adjoins ours, and the roofs are 

continuous. For several days there had been rumours that^their 
house would be plundered by the Turkish authorities, and they 
had not dared to undress and go to bed in peace, but on Wednesday 
they felt more safe and went to bed early. I myself had gone 
to bed, but not to sleep. Just before eleven o'clock I heard 
loud knocking on their gate, and then a rapid trampling of feet 
on the roof over my room. Pretty soon there was quite a com- 
motion in our front yard. I jumped up, and saw in the yard a 
dozen or more Turkish soldiers, who entered through our front 
door and went up to the roof through our halls. I dressed as 
quickly as I could and went to Miss Coan's room on the roof, to 

find that some of the women from Dr. 's family were already 

there. In a few minutes the rest of the women and children from 
there climbed the wall or sUd from the roof on to our balcony, 
and I let them in through the window into our parlour. They 
were crying and frightened nearly to death, but kept quiet. The 
Turks searched the house, but took nothing, saying they had 
come to take evil men, not things. They came back through our 
house again. The orders have been in our yard that the gate 
should never be opened at night but by one of the gentlemen ; 
so, when they first knocked, the guard came and called Mr. Allen. 

He let them in and went with them to Dr. -'s house. In 

the meantime, a Syrian had aroused Mr. Miiller, and when he 
tried to get out of his front door he found a Turk guarding it. 
He tried to push out, saying that he was the master of the house, 
but the Turk struck him and refused to let him pass. When 
the gang returned from our neighbours', they insisted on searching 
Mr. Miiller 's house, even going into the bedroom where Mrs. 
Miiller was in bed and Ruth was sick. Meanwhile a second band 
came and pounded on our gate, but our guards had run away, 
and finally one of the men climbed a telephone pole to the roof, 
got down inside and opened the gate. The officer tied up the 
Persian guards as a punishment for not opening the gate. After- 
wards they went into the Allen house and even asked to have 
the piano played. It is maddening to have our premises and 
houses invaded in this way, and by such a lot, but we are helpless, 
and, for the sake of what we may be able to do for the safety of 
the people, our gentlemen have to smile and try to turn away 
their wrath with soft words, even though they are threatened 
and called liars by the representatives of the invading Govern- 
ment. I don't believe the Mission in the seventy-five years and 
more of its existence has ever been placed in so difficult and 
humiliating a position. 

Still the ghastly procession of the dead marches on. Between 
seven and eight hundred have died so far. A great many are 
able to get plain wooden coffins for their dead now, but the great 

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mass are just dropped into the great trench of rotting humanity. 
As I stand at my window in*the morning I see one after another 
of the Kttle bodies carried by, wrapped mostly in a ragged piece 
of patch-work ; and the condition of the living is more pitiful 
than that of the dead — hungry, ragged, dirty, sick, cold, wet, 
swarming with vermin — thousands of them ! Not for all the 
wealth of all the rulers of Europe would I bear for one hour their 
responsibility for the suffering and misery of this one little corner 
of the world alone. A helpless, unarmed Christian community 
turned over to the sword and the passion of Islam ! 

This morning my attention was called to a girl of twelve, 
who was too sick to be kept any longer in a room with other 
people. A young Syrian woman, who was helping with the sick, 
wanted to put her into that closet under the stairway from 
which none ever come out alive. I said: " She will die in there." 
She replied : " Of course she will die, but we shall have to find a 
place for her until she does." We put her there temporarily 
until we found a small room where there were only twenty. These 
\^'e distributed among other crowded rooms, brought Marganeta 
there, laid her on some matting and covered her with an old 
carpet. Poor child, she has a sweet face, but life has treated her 
cruelly. 

Dysentery has been bad for a long time, and when the sick 
get helpless and their condition offensive, it is almost impossible 
to get anyone to care for them unless they have near relatives. 
Dysentery and measles have both been epidemic for a long time, 
and nearly all deaths are directly due to one or both of these 
diseases. 

We had a real respectable funeral in the front yard this 
afternoon. A good old woman from Degala died, and her pastor 
had a service for her. This is only the second real funeral service 
I have seen, though a preacher is always present at the two 
burials daily, and conducts a service at the cemetery. 

Friday, I2th February. 

To-day we have begun a new method of giving out bread. 
We have printed forms, which we fill in and ask the heads of 
families to sign, promising to pay us later for the bread. All 
day thousands have been crowding the big tent in the yard, 
where a number of young men have been filling in and giving 
out these tickets for bread. The problem is a big one. Un- 
doubtedly some could find bread who are taking it free, but we 
cannot decide most of the cases. Then we are spending thousands 
of borrowed money, and as yet no response to our cablegram 
sent long ago to America ! The numbers asking for bread are 
increasing daily, but if we should refuse it, hundreds would die 
of starvation. 

Again the yards are wet and muddy from melting snow. 
The last two days have been very hard for the thousands without 
fuel and with very little clothing. One of the verses that helps 

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to keep my faith steady these days is : ''He that spared not His 
own Son." 

The death-rate has been considerably reduced ; for two weeks 
or more it averaged over thirty a day. 

Mr. Allen is off on a tour to the villages of the upper Nazlu 
river, to see what is left there, and to give help or encouragement 
to anyone who may be left. A while ago when Mr. Allen visited 
the villages on the Baranduz, one of our Bible Women told him 
of a certain spot she wished him to visit. She lived in Kurtapa, 
and as she was about to flee with a bag containing nine tomans * 
of money, the robbers appeared at the door. She quickly threw 
the bag down beside a broken earthen tub and the thieves did 
not see it. Mr. Allen went to that village, found the room and 
the broken tub with the bag of money beside it, and brought the 
money to its owner. 

Last week, the Shahbanda, or Turkish Consul, who is now the 
chief authority, demanded six thousand tomans of the Syrians. 
With great trouble this was partly collected and partly borrowed 
by the help of the Sirdar (Persian Governor), who demanded six 
hundred more for his share. The Shahbanda promised that, if 
this were given, the shops and houses of the Syrians in the city 
would not be disturbed. It remains to be seen how much his 
word is worth. 

To-morrow completes six weeks of this siege and semi-siege 
condition. We keep on praying, but see no signs of deliverance. 
We are shut off from the world, and thousands are held in this 
bondage by a few hundred Osmanli troops and a few wandering 
Kurds. I reahze now that Persia is dead — or worse ; she has 
no manhood nor moral character left. 

Wednesday, llth February. 

A few days ago the Turkish Consul arrested all the men at 
the Fiench Mission. After some examination, a hundred were 
sent away, leaving about sixty-three at the Consulate. A gallows 
with seven nooses was erected at the " Kurdish Gate " of the 
city, the one near us, and on Sunday the ropes were put in place. 
The people here on Sunday were very badly scared. The women 
of the men under arrest came and wept and besought Dr. Shedd 
to do something, but he could do nothing. That evening the 
people gathered in the church for prayer, and continued 
praying until midnight. Each night since similar meetings have 
been held. As yet no one has been hanged, but the Turkish 
Consul is demanding money for their release. The second day 
after the arrest of these people, a Turkish soldier was sent to us 
to ask us to send bread for the prisoners, and we have been feeding 
them ever since. When their women-folk went to see them they 
were charged two krans (ninepence) admission. It has been 
reported that the prisoners have been tortured in various ways 
known to the Turks, in order to extort money from their families. 



* A toman is about four shillings. 
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URMIA. 



The Turkish Consul has demanded the ten thousand tomans 
cf Enghsh bank money committed to us when the bankers fied. 
The matter has been referred to our Consul in Tabriz. If it 
should have to be surrendered, we should be in straits, for that 
is all we have to buy bread with for these thousands of hungry 
people. Weeks ago we appealed to America, both to the Red 
Cross and to our Board, but there is no reply. 

It was reported to me that there were refugees here who had 
stores of flour, meat, butter, etc., and yet were taking bread 
from us, so yesterday I made an investigation and found small 
quantities ; but if the whole were sold, it would not amount to 
twenty dollars, and the owners would be reduced to nothing but 
dry bread, and, though this might do for a limited time, they 
cannot " live by bread alone " week after week. Undoubtedly 
this terrible epidemic of dysentery which has carried off hundreds 
is due largely to lack of proper food and want of variety of food. 
As I made the rounds of our own yards yesterday and visited 
the people herded together in one of the dark storerooms of our 
Persian Girls '-School, it seemed to me that their condition of 
cold, hunger, filth and sickness was about as miserable as they 
could get in this world. One great difference that was apparent 
in all the rooms was the absence of small children, hundreds 
having died during these last months. 

The evangehstic work is now well organized, and everywhere 
there are at least daily meetings for everyone. The women 
workers under Miss Lamme visit outside places. Mrs. McDowell, 
with native women, also visits outside places where there are 
large numbers of refugees herded together. Mr. McDow^ell tries 
to keep the preachers at work, too. 

Last week a group of one hundred and fifty or more mountain- 
eers who are staying at Sengar, two or three miles from the city 
came down with one of Kurdu's men, asking us to feed them 
They said that heretofore they had been provided for by Kurdu, 
a Kurdish chief, for whom they had been working, carrying away 
for him the plunder he had collected here, and that now he was 
leaving and we must feed them. We put them off several times, 
but finally accepted the additional burden. Every one who gets 
tired of his job of charity or responsibiUty throws it upon us. 
There seems no end, and this is the seventh week. 

Thursday, ISth February. 

Yesterday afternoon I went out to the College compound for 
the first time since Christmas. We had to drive under the gallows 
at the city gate. It creates rather unpleasant feelings to think 
that perhaps some of our friends may be suspended there. 

Our Mission is being treated with more consideration than at 
first, and we are hoping that perhaps the Turkish Consul has 
heard from Constantinople, and that our own Government has 
been exerting influence at Berhn and Constantinople. For 

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weeks we have had no word from the outside world ; but we 
" rest in Jehovah and wait patiently for Him." 

Friday, I9th February, 

This has been a snowy day again. The people have been 
making it a day of fasting and prayer — as if every day were not 
a fast day ! 

Saturday, 20th February. 

All day negotiations have been going on in regard to the 
English bank money. When Dr. Shedd and Dr. Packard were 
called to the Turkish Consulate, they found there the former 
Urmia Consul, who had fled from here last autumn when war 
between Russia and Turkey was first declared. He had gone 
south to Soujboulak. It looks as if he were perhaps fleeing now 
in this direction, which would mean that the Russians were in 
Soujboulak ; we have heard this report. It is being reported 
that the Kurds were making preparations to-day for leaving 
here. It may be that the Consul's haste to get this money is 
another evidence that he is expecting to leave soon. He told 
the gentlemen to-day that he thought that, as Americans, they 
ought to make a contribution toward the cause of Turkey. They 
have felt that a compromise on the ten thousand is the best 
way out, and suggested that he take two thousand ; but he 
refused to take less than five thousand, and promised that he 
would not take it before to-morrow, so if something does not 
develop before to-morrow we shall probably be the poorer by 
that amount. We are hoping that it may be taken without any 
show of force or violence. Of course, we cannot make any 
resistance. 

To-day we finished going over all the bread tickets, arranging 
the names according to villages. Then we called in responsible 
men from each village and went over the Hsts, to find out those 
who would be able to help themselves soon, and those who had 
reported more members of famihes than they have. I am sorry 
to say that we found scores who were cheating in various ways, 
and now we have to get hold of all of them — a big business for 
some days to come. We are distributing 14,000-15,000 loaves 
of about ten and a half ounces each day ; but there are so many 
getting more than a loaf each that there are probably not more 
than eleven thousand persons receiving. 

An epidemic of typhoid has broken out at the College among 
the refugees — twenty-seven cases. To-day, even in the midst 
of our troubles, the Evangehstic Board met to consider a re- 
organization of the work. When the people are able to return 
to the villages, they will probably have to settle temporarily in 
a few of the larger ones. 

Sunday, 2lst February. 

To-day there are three or four services in the ehurch. This 
morning it was packed for a communion service and many were 

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turned away. Another communion service is arranged for this 
afternoon, and then again next Sunday, to give an opportunity 
for all communicants. 

Tuesday, 23rd February. 

Last night one of the most terrible things that has yet happened 
occurred. In the evening ten or a dozen of the prisoners from 
the French Mission, taken ten days or more ago by the Turkish 
Consul, were discharged, and we all felt that probably the rest 
would soon be set free, as there was no special charge against them. 
But this morning five men, two of them Moslems, were found 
hanging from the gallows at the Kurdish Gate, and forty-eight 
others were shot beyond the Tcharbash Gate. No one has dared 
to go out yet and get the bodies, though Dr. Shedd has asked 
permission of the Turkish Consul. For two days we had felt so 
much more hopeful, but to-day a terrible fear has fallen on the 
people. There is much silent weeping, but Httle violent demonstra- 
tion, though the mothers, wives and famihes of the murdered 
men are here. The question in everybody's mind is : " What 
will the Tm^ks do next ? " Forty or fifty shots were distinctly 
heard in the night between one and two o'clock, but no one guessed 
what they meant. We had begun yesterday to take their bread- 
tickets away from a few of the people to try to force them to go 
to their villages or find money in some way to provide for them- 
selves ; but now they are too frightened to leave and everything 
is set back again. Two or three days ago the Turks took some 
things from the French Mission property here, carpets, etc., and 
we hear that they are plundering more to-day. On Sunday we 
received a card from Tabriz saying that everything was quiet 
there, that £1,000 relief had been received, and that Mr. Labaree 
was going to the Caucasus to relieve the refugees who had fled 
from Urmia to Russia. 

Wednesday, 24:th February. 

The French missionaries and the nine nuns were very much 
alarmed for their personal safety. They asked that one of our 
men should go there and put up an American flag ; but, of course, 
we could not do that. Yesterday the Turkish Consul sent word 
that if we wanted the bodies of the three Christians hanging at 
the gate, Ave had permission to take them. Mr. McDowell and 
Mr. Allen went with some Syrians, took down the bodies, and 
buried them. There has been a Httle more disorder than usual, 
and the people are terrified again. I have had to give back many 
of the bread tickets that we had collected. There are hundreds 
of people who have fields and vineyards, but who cannot borrow 
a dollar. These tickets are really promissory notes which they 
have signed, promising to pay later, but we need cash now, 
and our bread queue does not decrease — rather, increases. I 
wonder what a trained Red Cross worker would do with a mob 
that will not stand in fine or stay where you put them ; who, 

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when you go over the case and give the answer, refuse to take 
it, but stand about and weep briny tears by the hour. They 
have no sense of honour, don't know how to tell the truth, can't 
tell the same story twice, and do not know much about anything 
except that their stomachs are empty. They try to get bread 
under the names of the dead, and when accused of evading the 
truth, will declare in the most injured tones: "We wouldn't lie." 
There is much that would be funny in these investigations if it 
did not get monotonous. 
Saturday, 27th February. 

When Mr. McDowell returned from the burial of those shot 
on Jewish Hill, he reported that they had found forty bodies and 
identified all but five or six. 

On Wednesday night, a still more horrible deed was committed 
at Gulpashan. This village and Iriawa had been shielded, partly 
through the efforts of a German ; but on Wednesday night a 
band of Persian volunteers, arriving from Salmas or beyond, 
went there, took fifty men, and, according to reports, shot them 
in the graveyard near by. They then plundered the village, 
took girls and young women, outraged them, and acted in general 
as one might expect Satan to do when turned loose. 

The horror and sadness of everything has been brought nearer 
to us by the death of Mile. Madelaine Perrochet, a young Swiss 
girl who came with the Coans four months ago to teach the 
missionary children. She was only twenty -one, so bright, so 
pretty, that we had all learned to love her dearly. She spoke 
English well, and, of course, French and German. She died 
on Thursday, after dinner, and yesterday (Friday) we had the 
funeral service in Dr. Coan's living room, led by Mr. McDowell. 
We could not take her out to our little cemetery at Seir, so she 
was buried in Dr. Coan's garden, just at the right of the entrance 
to the long grape-arbour. In his prayer Mr. McDowell used 
the words : " We are not only walking in the valley of the shadow 
of death, but we are dwelfing there in these weeks." 

Just now two of the young Syrians who are the chief men in 
helping with the bread came in and told me that they had 
received warning secretly that they had better leave here and 
hide with some friendly Moslems, as the Turkish Consul is going 
to take out all the young men from our yards and other places 
in the city and kill them — " wipe them out." I cannot believe 
that it can be true, but we cannot know. If they enter our yards 
by force and murder men, then there is no further safety for any 
of us. As one of these young men said just now : " Let us 
commit everything into the hands of God, and then wait and 
be ready for whatever comes." 

Typhus is raging at the College. Yesterday there were 
seventy cases at the College compound, and over a hundred 
others on diet, with the probability of a large part of them develop- 
ing typhoid. It is impossible to take care of so many cases or 

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URMIA. 



feed them properly under such conditions. At the hospital they 
are buying all the milk and mesta (matzoun) they can get. Mrs. 
Cochran has had charge of the feeding there, as well as doing much 
else, and yesterday she went to bed ; to-day there are symptoms 
of typhoid. Mrs. Coan and Miss Coan took care of Mile. Perrochet, 
and the last week or two had the help of a Syrian woman who 
has had a nurse's course in America, Miss George. She has 
proved very efficient and a great help and comfort. 

Saturday Night. 

There was a great deal of anxiety lest something should 
happen here ; but we woke on Sunday morning in safety and 
saw a rainbow in the northern sky, though there was no rain. 
The reports of Mr. Allen from Gulpashan were too black to be 
written. The soldiers sent out by the Consul to protect the 
villages against Kurds and Moslem looters left unviolated hardly 
a woman or girl of those remaining in the village, and a number 
of girls were carried off. It seemed quite apparent that they 
understood that the whole business of protecting was to be a 
farce. When on Sunday morning Mr. Allen returned and wanted 
to bring people with him, he was not permitted. Those who had 
been murdered in the cemetery a few nights previously had 
been buried under a few inches of earth, and when he wanted 
to have them uncovered to identify them and bury them deeper, 
he was refused. The soldiers had made them all sit down on 
the ground and then shot at them. They then looked them 
over, and any who were found to be breathing were shot the 
second time. The only reason for all this was that they bore 
the name of " Christian." What has the Christian world to say ? 

Mr. McDowell • went to Iriawa and found similar conditions 
there. We were very glad to see him and Mr. Allen safely back, 
for they undoubtedly were in jeopardy themselves and were 
treated insolently by the soldiers. 

Mrs. Cochran is better, and we feel now that she will not have 
typhoid. It is a tremendous relief. Only seven died here in this 
quarter yesterday. The death list here has passed the thousand 
mark, and, including the Boys'-School yard and the College, fifteen 
hundred. All the past week three young men and myself have been 
kept busy all the morning and into the middle of the afternoon 
examining bread tickets, hearing pleas, and giving out new tickets 
as the new refugees have come in. The last several days we 
have purchased, without counting the College, nearly ten thousand 
pounds of bread daily. 

Friday, 5th March. 

Mrs. Cochran has typhoid, but so far in a light form. Mrs. 
Coan and Miss Coan are taking on her work as best they can, 
and caring for her too, with the help of the Syrian nurse, Miss 
George. Dr. Packard has been in bed two or three days, but 
we Ho not know if it is typhoid or not. Mr. Allen went to 



DIARY OF A MISSIONARY. 



137 



Gulpashan with permission from the Turkish Consul, to bury those 
who had been murdered. He found fifty bodies. When he came 
back, a crowd of sixty-four, mostly women and girls, came with 
him. Our yards and rooms, including the church, are crowded 
again, but with cleaner people. Most of the mountaineers are 
out. Two families of mountaineers who are friendly with the 
Kurds started out yesterday for their homes. It is spring now, 
and time for ploughing and sowing, and unless the people can soon 
get to their villages there will be a dearth of wheat and other 
grain next year. There are repeated reports of the approach 
of the Russian army, and some Germans here have said that they 
were soon expecting to go on a journey. If the Turks should 
have to flee, there is no telHng what they might do before going ; 
but we do not dare to let our hopes of deUverance rise, for it 
makes the long wait harder. 

A few days ago the ex -Turkish Consul sent word that if there 
were any girls held captive that we wanted to get, he would find 
them for us. That looks as if there had been a quarrel — or 
perhaps it is a trick to trip us into being unwise. It takes the 
wisdom of the serpent as well as the simplicity of the dove ! 

Saturday, 6th March. 

Dr. Packard has developed typhoid. There is only Mrs. 
Packard to take care of him, and she is far from strong, and there 
are four Kvely boys to care for and keep out of mischief and danger. 
Since Mlle.'s death, it leaves the children's education on the 
mothers' shoulders, and Mrs. Packard has been trying to take 
the bulk of it. 

This morning 1 made out the second month's report of the 
bread funds which have passed through my hands. So far we 
have spent approximately £1,500. Over £120 has been collected 
in sales, which leaves nearly £1,400 debt for us. This does not 
include College or Boj^s'-School yard. All of this has been spent 
on dry bread alone, two hundred and twenty-three and a half 
tons, all brought in on the backs of carriers. About one hundred 
and fifty pounds is a man's load. This month we have distributed 
four and a quarter tons a day. 

Evening. 

There is considerable fear to-night among the Christians 
that the Turks may strike a blow before they go. We have 
twenty -five extra guards of Persian soldiers. All day Moslem 
villagers have been fleeing to the city in fear of what the Russians 
may do when they come. We do not know how near they are, 
for we have no means of communication. It would seem strange 
to lie down in quiet and peace, knowing that all fear and terror 
to these poor people were passed. 

Sunday, 1th March. 

Dr. Packard is very sick with typhoid ; yesterday his tempera- 
ture was 105. He seem^ quieter to-day. Dr. Pera, former hospital 

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assistant, has promised to take care of him every day from 
9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Mrs. Packard will be night-nurse. Mrs. 
Cochran seems to be getting along quietly. Thirty cases of 
typhoid are reported in one of the houses in the suburbs, which 
a few daj^s ago we filled up with refugees brought from the College 
compound. They probably brought the germ with them. The 
only reason it is not raging here is the eternal vigilance of Mr. 
McDowell in looking after sanitary conditions and the water- 
courses. He has frequently to appeal to the Governor to get 
donkeys for carrying off refuse, though he pays well. As the 
church is full of refugees, two meetings are held daily in the 
Seminary yard. Kasha Moshi of Geogtapa makes a fine out- 
door preacher. 

Just now, as I came from dinner, a woman met me, leading 
a little girl by the hand, and in her most wheedling tones tried 
to present her to me as a gift, saying she was her great-grandchild. 
I laughed and said I already had one hundred such gifts. She 
felt that I was not properly appreciative ! There are scores of 
-people who would like to dump their responsibihties under these 
conditions. We have had a number of cases of relatives deserting 
old and helpless women and leaving them for us to care for until 
they died. 

Monday, Sth March. 

Yesterday there was general fasting and prayer until noon 
for Dr. Packard's and Mrs. Cochran's recovery. There is a 
beginning of what we hope may be a deep and permanent spiritual 
awakening. In such times one lives in the presence of eternal 
reahties, and Heaven seems quite near. It is marvellous how the 
Word of God speaks to us in every condition and experience 
through which we pass. 

Tuesday, 9th March. 

On Sunday a Mohammedan orator made a speech in a garden 
in Dilgusha to a croAvd of several thousand people, practically 
all Moslems. He said that Italy and Persia had joined in the 
alhance with Germany, Austria and Turkey, and, of course, are 
in the way of victory. America had taken no part in this war, 
but is doing good all over the world without regard to race or 
religion, caring for the sick and wounded, feeding the hungry and 
befriending the needy. The American missionaries here, he said, 
have done and are doing this, and everyone should honour them 
and stand up for them. At this there was great applause. 

Last night a body of askars entered the house of Dr. , 

whose yard adjoins ours, and demanded Mar Elia, a Russian 
Bishop, who has been in hiding these last weeks. They didn't 
find him, but took about forty pounds' worth of money and 
jewellery and frightened the people nearly to death. Our watch- 
man called Mr. McDowell and Mr. Allen and they tried to go 
over to the help of the women. Mr. McDowell climbed the 

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ladder from this side to go over into their yard, but at the top 
met a gun in the hands of an askar, who demanded his retreat. 
Mr. McDowell, out of respect for the gun, didn't insist on having 
his way. That yard is not in our hands and we have no flag 
there, so, of course, we couldn't do anything. This has scared 
the people again. This morning one woman brought me some 
ewellery and papers to keep for her. She had been in America 
and only returned last spring, and was bewaihng her stupidity 
in returning. She says she is only waiting for a way to open 
for her to go back, never to return. Hundreds are saying the 
same thing, and I think there will be a large emigration to America 
when the way opens. I wouldn't mind emigrating myself for 
a while ! 

Friday, I2th March. 

We cannot complain of the monotony of life for these last 
two or three days. It was on Monday night that the Turks 
tried to get the Bishop, but he escaped over the church roof. 
The next afternoon they suddenly appeared again, and this 
time found him hiding on the church roof behind a parapet. He 
tried to get down an old ladder standing by the wall, but the 
askar who was at the other end of the roof raised his gun and 
told him he would shoot if he attempted to run, so he was captured. 
It is said that he had two thousand tomans in gold and Russian 
paper money on his person. This, of course, was taken. The 
most unfortunate incident of that capture was the arrest at the 
same time of Dr. Lokman. At Mr. McDowell's request. Dr. 

Lokman (Syrian) had gone over the wall into Dr. 's house 

to find out if there were any typhoid cases there, and was caught 
by the askars. Our mission at once began to make efforts to 
secure their release. The Turkish Consul demanded £200 for 
Dr. Lokman and £2,000 for the Bishop. In the evening he sent 
word that unless they were immediately redeemed they would 
be shot at midnight. He ordered the Persian Governor to send 
eight men to assist at the shooting. In the meantime they 
had gotten hold of another man or two. When word came about 
Dr. Lokman there was some hustling to find the money. " Brides " 
(young married women) were asked to give up the gold pieces 
from their dowry, and in a short time the £200 was sent. When 
Dr. Lokman was notified of his release he was sleeping soundly 
without any reahzation of the doom hanging over him. When 
he reached our yards and his family and friends congratulated 
him, he felt like one raised from the dead. Just as soon as he 
heard that the others were still in danger, he said : " Well, we 
must try to do something to release them." He is one of the 
most prominent Syrians here and influential with the Persian 
Government. From the first day of these troubles he has been 
on hand to help in governmental affairs in every way possible. 
All day yesterday efforts were being made to get money to redeem 
the others. 



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These last two nights our yards have been overflowing with 
people from the Christian quarter here, and already the Moslems 
from the villages are crowding into the city for fear of the Russians. 
As one of our bakers said yesterday : " The city gates cannot let 
them in fast enough." The city is in a panic for fear of what the 
Russians will do to the Moslems when they arrive. Heaven 
grant that they will act in the spirit of Christ and not of 
Mohammed ! Everywhere the Moslems are now anxious to 
show themselves friends of Christians. David gives expression 
. to my sentiments concerning the wicked in Ps. 59. 

The Germans, I understand, have already left, except one 
of the leaders, and he is ready to go in haste. Yesterday I had 
to stay in bed with a headache, and it seemed to me that the very 
air was vibrating with expectation and excitement. Ten thousand 
times a day the petition arises, Lord, deliver us." Ten weeks 
to-morrow ! It seems impossible to hold out much longer. 
" Lord, deliver us from the hand of the wicked." Dr. Packard 
is still quite sick. Mrs. Cochran seems to be getting along slowly. 
They have so many cases of typhoid at the College that they have 
put up the big tent in the School yard there for a hospital. 

Tuesday, IQth March. 

To-day our hearts are heavy and sorrowful. Dr. Packard 
is very sick indeed, and it seems now as if Miss Coan has typhoid 
or typhus, whichever this sickness is. Mrs. Cochran appears to 
be getting along all right. We want Dr. Varmeman from Tabriz, 
but there seems to be no way to get a message through to him. 
Dr. Shedd asked the Turkish Consul to help us get a messenger 
through, but he said he couldn't. The Russians are between 
Urmia and Tabriz. We have twenty-five or thirty cases of 
typhoid here in this compound. Mr. McDowell is trjdng to empty 
a few rooms to put the sick in, but it is very difficult. 

Last night there was great fear again in Mart Maryam 
lest the new arrivals might devise some new evil for them, and 
many wanted to crowd into our yard, but every place is full. 
We are feeding 15,000 persons daily, one loaf each. A note by 
secret messenger came from Dr. Vanneman a few days ago, saying 
that they had received £1,200 for relief. This means a great 
deal, but it will pay only a third of the debt we already have. 
The Turks still hold Shamasha Lazar and Mar Elia (Bishop) for 
a big ransom. Our funds are getting low, and Mr. Miiller has 
borrowed some money at 24 per cent, interest. Last week our 
hopes of deUverance were high, but hope so long deferred makes 
the heart grow faint. Mr. McDowell was trying to get some sick 
people out of the big school-room when he saw a tired and weary 
woman, with a baby in her arms, sitting in one of the seats, 
and said to her : Where do you stay ? " She said : " Just here." 
" How long have you been here ? " " Since the beginning (two 
months)," she repHed. " How do you sleep at night ? " I 
lay the baby on the desk in front of me, and I have this post at 

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the back to lean against. This is a very good place. Thank 
you very much." 

The men don't dare to go outside our yards for fear of being 
arrested and held for ransom. One of the Syrian physicians was 
asked by a missionary to go outside and see some sick. He 
laughed and said : " I'll go if you will pay the bill."' 

Thursday, ISth March. 

It is such a reUef to have Dr. Packard come to himself again, 
though he is very weak. Miss Coan's fever still continues, and 
Miss Lamme has gone to the College to help there. This morning 
]\Ir. McDowell is down with fever, but we hope it is only malaria. 
Shamasha Lazar, who has been a prisoner for a week at the 
Turkish Consulate, was released on payment of one thousand 
tomans cash on the condition that he finds the other £400 within 
two days. 

If there were a mail or some other way open to Tabriz, we 
could seU orders on Dr. Vanneman, our Mission Treasurer in 
Tabriz, but the bankers will not buy such orders now because 
they can't dispose of them until a way to Tabriz is opened. The 
day before yesterday we tried to make a bargain with our twenty 
or more Mohammedan bakers, who are supplying us with about 
six tons of bread daily, to let us have it on twenty days' credit. 
They agreed to do it on condition that at the end of ten days 
we would pay half ; but after they left here they agreed among 
themselves that they would not deliver bread yesterday, though 
they didn't teU us. In the morning, when we found that no 
bread was coming, we sent out and got other bakers to deliver 
for cash. When our regular bakers found we were buying else- 
where, they came back, and after a long discussion they promised 
to deliver for twenty days, if we would pay half every five days. 
So it stands ; we shall see if they stick to their bargain. Fortu- 
nately, yesterday we had half a day's supply on hand, and managed 
to buy enough to finish out. There is a cash famine, and anyone 
who has any money wants to hold on to it in such uncertain 
times. 

This morning, a little after five, we were aroused by shouts 
and a commotion near by. The askars with their officers had 
entered the EngUsh mission yard by cHmbing a ladder from the 

street over the wall into the yard of a Mr. , who is a Syrian, 

but an EngHsh subject. The watchman gave the alarm, and 
Mr. MUUer and Mr. Allen were soon on the spot. Of course they 
couldn't do anything but reassure the women. Eight or ten 
men were arrested and taken away, probably to be held for 
ransom. That property has been comiected with ours from the 
beginning of these troubles, and the American flag has been over 
the entrance. Mr. Allen said to the officer : You don't intend 
to respect the American flag V He repHed : The Turkish 
flag is also there." (It is under the American flag.) This makes 
one feel doubtful for the safety of our own yards. It is wonderful 

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how quiet these thousands of people can keep while such things 
are going on. A number of women and girls sleep in the parlour 
adjoining my room, and I opened the door and told them not 
to leave the room. They said : " No, we are only dressing " ; 
but it was evident that they were trembUng with fear ; and this 
is the state we have hved in for eleven weeks. 

One of the most pitiful objects of humanity that I have ever 
yet seen came into the room to ask for a ticket — a boy of about 
twelve or fourteen, wasted to a mummy-hke skeleton by hunger 
and sickness, so weak that he could hardly stand or speak, un- 
bathed for these many months. I asked where he had been stay- 
ing. He said : " In the school-room." 

The Turks have demanded ten thousand suits of shirts and 
pyjamas for the army. Eight thousand were demanded from 
the Moslem women, and two thousand from the Christian or 
Syrian women. As the latter are practically all here with us 
and in the Christian quarter, it fell upon the missionaries to take 
the responsibihty, so Miss Schoebel took charge. So far fifty-five 
bolts of caUco have been sent ; Miss Schoebel gave out the material 
to responsible women, and they in turn found others to help 
with the sewing (mostly by hand) and about eight hundred of 
the shirts are ready. How would you hke to sit down and make 
clothes for Turks and Kurds who had robbed you, burned your 
homes, murdered your husbands, brothers, and fathers, dis- 
honoured your women, and carried your girls into captivity ? 

Saturday, 20th March. 

The prisoners taken from the EngUsh Mission yards by the 
Turks were kept about twenty-four hours, examined, and to the 
great and unexpected joy of everyone were set free without 
ransom. The Turks said they had heard that a Russian spy 
was being kept in that yard, and when they found no evidence 
of this, they set the men free. Another thing may have had 
something to do with it. The night before last several Turkish 
soldiers who were sick with typhoid went to the College compound. 
When informed that there was absolutely no place for them, 
they returned to the Consulate, which is in the former Russian 
Mission. The Shahbanda then sent for Dr. Shedd. It was after 
nightfall and we didn't know why he was sent for, but were fearful 
lest another blow might be about to fall upon us. But he asked 
him if we would be willing to care for their sick, a dozen or more, 
who have typhoid. He was told that there was no room in the 
hospital or College building adjoining, which are already crowded 
fuU of sick, but that we would do what we could. This probably 
had something to do with the dismissal of the prisoners. For 
two days no other arrests have been made, and only the Bishop 
is now a prisoner. The last ransom they asked for him was 
fifteen thousand tomans. The Shahbanda has said that he is 
going to take down all the American flags except the one over 
our main entrance. We have several other properties adjoining 

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ours which are full of refugees, and several of the naturalized 
citizens have American flags up. 

We are happy this morning that all our sick are better. Mr. 
McDowell was up yesterday and Miss Schoebel has no fever this 
morning, so it looks as if she had only malaria. Mrs. Cochran 
is getting along finely ; Dr. Packard we hope has passed the crisis ; 
Miss Coan seems to be having a light case. Our rooms, hall- 
ways, and every place are crowded to the limit again. The 
men are afraid to stay anywhere else for fear of arrest. The 
Turks have given out word that several thousand troops are 
coming, and are demanding houses in Mart Maryam, and those 
turned out have nowhere else to go. 

We are having trouble in getting bread, as the bakers refuse 
to deliver without cash on the spot. They say the " blue eyes " 
(Russians) will return, " and then you will not pay us." Mr. 
Mtiller will try to-day to get wheat on several months' credit, 
and we shall use that instead of cash if possible. I am reaUzing 
what a wonderful thing money is, and what a dreadful thing it 
is to be without it, especially under such circumstances. As long 
as we could pay cash we couldn't stop some of the bakers from 
bringing more than we wanted. We feel, with so many of our 
number sick, so many others busy caring for them, the end of 
our money in sight, and our physical strength almost exhausted, 
that surely deUverance must be near. Through eleven weeks 
we have looked for it in vain. 

I have just paid a visit to the school dining-room, which is 
one of our hospital rooms. If there is another spot on this earth 
of more concentrated human misery, I hope I may never know 
it. One boy had just died. The mother looked up at me so 
pitifully, and said : " Lady, he is dead." Another baby was 
lying on the floor dying, under the influence of khash-khash 
(opium). The mother has no milk for lack of food, and the baby 
is dying of starvation. The mother said : Khanum, I am so 
sick, what shall I do ? " I could only reply : " I do not know." 
Twenty others were lying on the floor, without bedding, in various 
stages of misery, groaning, weeping and appeaUng for help. 
One child was lying on his father's coat with a hard bundle under 
his head, with the marks of slow starvation upon him. To-morrow 
he too will probably be gone, and we shall thank God that it is 
so. They are so many, our strength and our means are so Umited, 
the rooms are so crowded, we can do little for them and death 
is their best friend. One of our Bible Women is Ij^ng here, with 
her two daughters on one side of her and her sister on the other. 
Her boy died a few weeks ago. When I spoke to her she tried 
to raise herself up and tell me about some of the other sick in 
the room. We have been furnishing matting for the sick to He 
on, and using Mr. Sterrett's supply of wood for fires in the sick 
room ; the rest have had to do without fires except the few who 
have been able to get wood for their rooms. In one of the typhoid 

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T'ooms yesterday T noticed a pile of charred wood in the corner 
and asked about it. They said they had sent to the village and 
brought in the half -burned beams of their homes for fuel. That 
was all that was left of their house, except a pile of mud. Others 
have done the same thing. 

Yesterday Rabi Nanou, one of our Bible Women, went out as 
usual to hold meetings in the places where large numbers of 
refugees, mostly mountain people, are huddled together. She 
was stopped in the street by an askar who demanded her long 
coat. She told him she had been stripped of everything when 
she first fled from her village, and that the coat had since been 
given her by one of the missionary ladies. He said, nevertheless, 
it was not necessary for her, and demanded that she should take 
it off. Just then another askar came up who had been a guard 
at our gate. He interfered, saying that he knew her as a deaconess 
who went out every day to preach to the people, and she was 
allowed to go on with her coat. 

A while ago I took some soft-boiled eggs and several pieces 
of bread to the sick ones in the dining-room, and to Rabi Surra 
and her family. They are very grateful for everything. I've 
no doubt that, if they were properly fed, most of them would 
be up in a week. 

Sunday, 2lst March. 

Yesterday Mr. McDowell called a meeting of all the native 
doctors to try to get them to help in the responsibility of caring 
for the increasing number of typhoid cases. There are a number 
of doctors who do practically nothing and find excuses when 
anything is asked of them. It is hard to understand how they 
can spend hours every day sitting in their rooms or walking up 
and down the pavement here while they might be doing something 
to help in the care of the scores of sick people and in the effort 
Mr. McDowell is making for the preservation of the health of the 
community. Our assistant physician. Dr. Daniel Werda, is 
sick with typhoid, and Dr. David, of Soujboulak, who went out 
to the hospital to help, has been brought home sick. Dr. Pera, 
our former assistant, is at the College compound now, helping 
with the sick missionaries and a few special cases, and Dr. Joseph 
Khoshaba has consented to go out there to help. Dr. Theo. 
Mar Yosep has been our stand-by from the very beginning, and 
is the only native doctor here in the city yards who has really 
worked. He has been on hand every day. 

Tuesday, 23rd March. 

Sunday evening was the beginning of the Persian New Year, 
Noruz, and as soon as the cannon went off to announce that the 
New Year had begun there was a great firing of guns and torpedoes, 
more than usual. It was kept up for half-an-hour or more, and 
many of the people were badly frightened, thinking that perhaps 
a battle was on. We heard the next day that the Shahbanda 
was scared, not knowing what it was. 

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The Shahbanda sent forty-eight bolts of musHii for pyjamas, 
and the women under Miss Schoebei's directions are now sewing 
on them, having finished eight hundred and fifty sshirts. 

The smells in our backyards are almost unbearable. I can't 
open my back window at all. The sun is quite hot and dries 
things up ; it also brings out the awful smells. Last night the 
Shahbanda gave us permission to send a messenger to Tabriz 
for Dr. Vanneman. Our sick are all getting along fairly well. 
Dr. Packard has passed the crisis and each day seems a Httle bit 
better. There are about twenty-five Turks in the hospital now. 

Thursday, 26th March. 

We are trjdng to send away some of the people by taldng back 
their bread tickets to-day ; but we cannot give them any assurance 
of safety. They are so crowded here, and there is so much 
sickness, and money is so scarce, that it seems the lesser of two 
evils to send some of the people away, even though a few be 
killed. 

Yesterday we gave each of the sixty sick persons in the school 
dining-room a soft-boiled egg, and in the afternoon tea, which 
was served by two or three school -girls. Sugar and tea are so 
expensive, about three times the regular price, that it costs 
about six shiUings just to treat that one room to tea. The big 
school-room is in just as bad a condition as the dining-room, only 
with so many more tenants that it seems impracticable to do 
anything there. I've no doubt that if hundreds of these people 
were properly fed for a week they would be on their feet, but 
it is beyond our means and our strength. Just now the voice 
of Kasha Moushi Douman of Geogtapa comes to me through the 
open window of the paved school court where he is preaching. 
Twice a day preaching exercises are held in the school yard, and 
besides there are a number of preachers and women who go round 
daily to rooms and other yards for services. 

Monday, 29th March. 

We have had two or three rainy days, which are very hard 
for the people. Some of the sick are lying on the balcony with 
almost no covering or bedding. I saw one of the most awful 
sights I have yet seen on the school balcony yesterday — a woman 
stretched out on the bare bricks, half-naked, in the throes of 
death, the damp cold air blowing over her, friendless, helpless. 
The whole school-room, aisles, desks, corners, and platform is 
filled with the most miserable of the starving sick. We made 
the man who has charge of our tea-stand take the samovars 
there yesterday, Palm Sunday, and give each of the one hundred 
and fifty people two large glasses of tea. It costs about twelve 
shiUings, but eight shiUings were given me by Syrians. With 
the thousands of dollars of debt just for dry bread, we don't feel 
we can borrow money for special food for the sick ones, except 
in limited quantities for typhoid patients. We need space more 

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than anything else, rooms where we could put the sick on straw 
mats with at least a quilt over them, a fire and a little food besides 
dry bread, which many are too sick to eat. It seems dreadful 
to think of two thousand people dying here in this way, but 
after twelve weeks of it we cannot but feel glad every time one 
more of these helpless suffering ones finds rest. Sometimes for 
days I seem to be hardened past feehng, and then again the 
horror of it all sweeps over me. We pray and pray and cry out 
to God for deliverance, but no help comes. We seem shut off 
Irom the rest of the world and left to our fate. Nothing from 
the outside world for three months ! We hear many reports, 
but few materiahze. We are told that word has come that the 
Crown Prince has arrived in Tabriz and that Urmia should cele- 
brate, so there has been a great deal of firing of cannon, display 
of banners, and decoration. We have had our entrance decorated 
with banners and rugs. There is a great deal of rejoicing among 
the Persians, who desire to see the Persian Government strong 
enough to turn out both Turk and Russian. 

A few days ago, Mr. Miiller managed to borrow a thousand 
tomans from a merchant in the bazaar. It was counted out in 
two-kran silver pieces. This he was bringing home on the back 
of a porter, he walking close behind with a Persian soldier. 
Suddenly he found himself surrounded by six Kurds, armed to 
the teeth with guns, cartridge belts, and daggers. Two walked 
ahead and punched the money-bag to assure themselves that 
it was really money ; the others pressed close behind Mr. Miiller 
as they followed him through the streets. They asked him where 
he was taking the money, but he walked on in dignified silence, 
not deigning to answer, though trembling for the safety of the 
money. They reached our gate in safety, and as he turned in, 
Mr. Miiller thanked the Kurds for their safe escort. They laughed 
and passed on. Some of the young Syrians who guard the gate 
report that a few days ago a bunch of Kurds in passing stopped 
to talk and said : " We came down here to the plain with the 
intention of kilHng you all, not one of you would have escaped, 
but (pointing to the Stars and Stripes over the gate) we don't 
dare pass under that flag ! " Everybody feels that had we not 
been able to give refuge to the Christians, there would have 
been few left to tell the tale ; and so even yet we do not dare to 
force the people out, and they all say : " We would rather die 
here of hunger and disease than take our chances with the Kurds 
and Turks." 

Our sick missionaries all seem to be getting along well, and 
we are very thankful. The typhoid here in the city is usually 
fight, and there are few deaths from it, though many from 
dysentery. Measles almost disappeared some time ago. 

Thursday, 1st April. 

Rabi Nannou of Geogtapa, our best Bible Woman, has died 
of pneumonia, after a few days' illness. For the three months 

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that she has been a refugee here she has been a fearless and faithful 
worker, going out daily for religious meetings to the houses where 
the mountaineers have been huddled, looking after the sick, 
not hesitating to go to any place where she could help. For 
several years she has supported from her small salary her brother's 
four orphan children, and has been to them both father and 
mother. Herself unmarried, she has given her means and love 
unselfishly to these as if they were her own children. There 
is no one to fill her place. 

We have started to buy wheat on credit, as our cash is very 
low and we are not able to get more money. We have just 
bought four hundred bushels from Rabi David of Degala for 
part of his debt to us. When he was in prison and fined one 
thousand tomans to save his head, we furnished part of the cash 
and took his note. He can't pay cash now, so he is paying 
in wheat, which we will have ground to give to the hungry. 
What credit we can get for bread is for a few days only. Most 
of the bakers need the money to carry on their business. 

Friday, 2nd April. 

Bertha Shedd, ten years old, has been sick with typhoid for 
several days, and now Miss Lamme is beginning ; the latter went 
out to the hospital about two weeks ago to help there when Miss 
Coan went down with it. Dr. Packard, Mrs. Cochran, and Miss 
Coan are getting well. Oraham Badel, our financial agent and 
general assistant in the City Compound, is very low this morning 
— just as I was writing he died, leaving a wife and four little 
ones. 

Several hundred Turkish troops have come into the city, 
evidently in retreat, as there are wounded among them. It is 
not evident from which direction they came. Last evening one 
of the Turkish officers came rushing in here in great distress. 
He had taken poison by mistake and came in here to be saved. 
He was given an emetic, and his life was saved. They have 
heard of germs and are very much afraid of typhoid, and had 
some corrosive sublimate in a glass for washing hands. This 
man saw it and, thinking it was wine or whiskey, poured it down 
his throat. He was terribly scared, and after being reheved 
of the poison, it was suggested that, as his life had been saved, 
he should try to save other lives. 

Sunday, Uh April. 

This journal is fast becoming an obituary. At first the hundreds 
who died were the poorest and the weakest, but now many from 
among our best are going. Yesterday Dr. Daniel Werda, Dr. 
Packard's assistant, died of typhoid. For three days Mrs. 
McDowell has been in bed with liigh fever. It is not evident 
yet that it is typhoid. Last night our cook went to bed with 
typhoid. Miss Schoebel is now trpng to make her comfortable 
and makes her old mother look after her. All day we have been 

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URMIA. 



trjdng to get something to eat for the hundreds of sick who have 
nothing for Easter. Easter is the Syrian " Great Feast," and 
is to them what Christmas is to us. They say : " The Little 
Feast (Christmas) was black, and now the Great Feast is black 
too." They had hoped so much that deUverance might come 
before the feast. We have given eggs and soup to about five 
hundred sick, and before evening I hope a glass of tea will be 
given to as many more. To-morrow we plan to give soup to 
several hundred more that we didn't reach to-day. We don't 
use reUef money for anything but bread, and so have only personal 
funds for the sick — a very httle. 

Tuesday, &h April. 

We have dwelt so long in the valley of death with the sick, 
the starving, the dying, with the unending procession of little 
bodies sewn up in a piece of cloth, friendless corpses carried out 
on ladders, with gaping mouths and staring eyes, crude unpainted 
coffins, coffins covered with black chintz, the never-ceasing wail, 
and eyes of the mourners that are never dried, hands outstretched 
for what we cannot give, and now so manj^ of our own number 
are down. I felt on Sunday as if I ought to get my own burial 
clothes ready so as to make as little trouble as possible when my 
turn came, for in these days we all go about our work knowing 
that any one of us may be the next to go down. And yet I think 
our friends would be surprised to see how cheerful we have kept, 
and how many occasions we find for laughing ; for ludicrous 
things do happen. Then, too, after dwelUng so intimately with 
death for three months, he doesn't seem to have so unfriendly . 
an aspect, and the " Other Side " seems very near and our Pilot 
close beside us. It is at such times that one finds out just how 
much faith in the unseen he has, and just how much his reUgion 
is worth. I find the Rock on which I can anchor in peace are 
the words of Christ Himself : " Where I am, there ye may be also." 
" If any man serve Me let him follow Me, and where I am, there 
shall also M}^ servant be." That is enough — to be where He is. 
Recently, as I have read sermons or books written for the trying 
times of life, I have found them tame and insufficient for the 
occasion ; our own experiences are so much more intense and 
go so much deeper that nothing but the words of God Himself 
can reach to the bottom. I have been re-reading Browning's 
Prospice, but it doesn't thrill me as much as it did, for I have 
something better : " For I know whom I have believed ..." 
and " I am persuaded that Death cannot separate us from the 
love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." 

A Hernoon . 

This morning JNIrs. McDowell's rose-spots appeared, and now 
we know that she has typhoid or typhus (it was tjrphoid). Rabi 
Tster Alamshah has consented to help in the care of Mrs. McDowell. 
Miss Schoebel and I were perfectly wiUing to nurse her, but it 
would mean throwing our work on some other missionary already 

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DIARY OF A MISSIONARY. 



149 



loaded up. Mr. McDowell will give up some of his work and help 
in nursing Mrs. McDowell. There are now six of our number sick, 
and it is impossible not to feel that someone else will go down 
in a few days unless it becomes possible to send the crowds away. 

Evening. 

To-day Miss Lamme's rose-spots appeared, so her case is 
pronounced typhoid. 

* 4E « « « 

Thursday, Srd June. 

Almost two months since I last wrote in my journal. On 
Sunday, the 11th April, I went to bed with typhoid or typhus, 
and three days later Miss Schoebel went down mth it also. Rabi 
EHshua, a teacher of the Persian Girls'-School, came to nurse 
me at once. She kept up for three weeks and saw me through 
the worst of my sickness ; then she took the disease. Three 
of the other Seminary teachers in succession came to care for 
Miss Schoebel, and each one went down with the disease in turn. 
Miss Bridges, of the American Orphanage, came to help us during 
the day, and in twelve days went to bed with typhus. She is 
just getting about again. All the teachers who helped to care 
for us have recovered, though one of the other teachers died. 
We were all surprised to find how competent these untrained, 
inexperienced girls were as nurses when there were no available 
missionaries left to nurse us. We were dependent upon them 
and got along finely without any complications. When the last 
one went down we knew that she was the last intelligent nurse 
we should find, and after that we were dependent upon ignorant 
village women. 

A great many things happened during the two months of 
our illness and convalescence. A very large number of our 
Syrian friends died. Of our own circle Mrs. McDowell died 
on the 16th April, and Mrs. Shedd on the 17th May. We can't 
take in yet what their loss will mean to us when we get to living 
under normal conditions. Mrs. Miiller attended Miss Schoebel 
and me for two and a half weeks ; then she took the fever. Her 
little boy was born in a few days, but only lived overnight. This 
is the fourth grave we have out in Dr. Coan's orchard by the 
grape-arbour. It hasn't been possible to take them to our 
cemetery at Seir. This week Mr. Miiller went to bed with typhus. 
His fever has been high. He is the thirteenth out of eighteen 
missionaries to get the fever, besides two of the children. Berth a 
Shedd and Ruth Miiller. On Monday, Mr. Labaree, with two 
nurses. Miss Easton of the Tabriz hospital and Miss Burgess, 
who had reached Tabriz on her way to Urmia, arrived. Mr. 
Labaree had been trying for weeks to get through, but was unable 
until the Russian army opened the way. Yesterday, the 5th 
June, Dr. Lamme arrived and began work last evening. One 
of the hard things during these five long months was our isolation 
from the outside world. Of course we know that our friends 



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URMIA. DIARY OF A MISSIONARY. 



were thinking of and praying for us, but it is a great help to have 
the tangible evidence in the shape of these friends and of letters 
from many others. 

On Sunday, the 24th Maj^ the advanced guard of the Russian 
army entered Urmia, and in the afternoon the commander came 
to call on our gentlemen. When we learned that the army would 
not remain, but were ordered to follow the enemy, there was 
consternation and great fear. And when the army moved on, the 
Moslems immediately began to annoy and rob the Syrians who 
had returned to their villages. There was great fear of a Moslem 
uprising against the Christians, and hundreds fled in the direction 
of Salmas. Finally the Russians left a small guard of about two 
hundred men. Three days ago about six thousand Russian 
troops, with artillery, came in from the south and marched 
through the city. We watched them from our roof, and it was 
a goodly sight to us besieged people. We shall try now to empty 
our yards of refugees. A few days ago there were still about 
one thousand left in our own yards and in one yard adjoining, 
which we have been renting for refugees, besides many others 
in surrounding yards. The stench in our back yard is almost 
unbearable. I don't know how we can get rid of the smells or 
disinfect the ground, which must be soaked for two or three feet, 
as that yard has been used as a latrine for hundreds of people 
for more than five months. 

Yesterday two Red Cross nurses, who have come with the 
Russian army from MongoUa, asked to be our guests for a few 
days until the army moved on in the direction of Erzeroum. 
They say that from there they will go to Jerusalem. When 
travelling they dress like the Cossacks, but wear their nurses' 
costumes in the house. 

A few days ago a number of prominent Syrians, who had 
fled when the Russians evacuated Urmia, returned, many of them 
to broken and badly damaged homes. We had a service of 
thanksgiving in the church j^esterday, the first time for many 
months, as it had been occupied by refugees. Thousands have 
lived in such terror and want, it is a wonder that many have 
not lost their minds. It has seemed sometimes as if our tears 
were all dried up and our emotions were dead, we have seen and 
felt so much. I suppose it is nature's way of saving brain and 
nerve. When I look at these poor wretched creatures and Httle 
children like skeletons, I find I still have some feelings left. It 
is estimated that four thousand people have died from disease, 
hunger, and exposure, and about a thousand by violence. The 
suffering can never be told, nor is it ended. Hundreds, yes 
thousands, are destitute, and even if we empty our yard there 
is no one left but the missionaries to save them from starvation, 
and we look to America. In the name of all Christians we have 
tried to witness for Christianity before this Moslem people. Will 
the Christians of America pay the bill ? 

[31] 



URMIA. MRS. COCHRAN. 



151 



32. URMIA AFTER ITS EVACUATION BY THE TURKS AND KURDS : 
LETTER DATED URMIA, 20th MAY, 1915, FROM MRS. J. P. 
COCHRAN TO FRIENDS IN THE UNITED STATES ; COM- 
MUNICATED BY THE BOARD OF FOREIGN MISSIONS OF THE 
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN THE U.S.A. 

It seems almost too good to be true to think that we are going 
to get in touch once more with the outside world, and may be it 
is. But, anyway, the Governor says he will send a messenger over 
to Tabriz to-morrow to carry letters and perhaps he will get 
through safely. 

I have no idea what has leaked through to civilisation since 
we fell out of the world, but I will give you as much of an account 
of the last four months and a half as the brief time allowed before 
the messenger goes will permit. 

On New Year's Day we had our usual day of receiving callers 
in the city ; all our Syrian and some Moslem friends called and 
things seemed fairly safe, though we knew we might be on the 
edge of war, as there was an army of Turks and Kurds within a 
day's march of us. They were said to be coming on to fight the 
Russians, who with a little force, of two thousand, perhaps, were 
strongly entrenched here. 

The next morning the Russians rose and left in haste, and 
many of our Syrian men and others who were known to be their 
supporters here left with them. Our teaching force here at the 
College, our newspaper and printing press work, and even our 
city church work was terribly crippled by the exodus, as it took 
away some of our best workers. 

The Russians' departure was the herald for the Kurds to 
pounce upon the prey they had so long been held at bay from, 
and, even before they arrived, the Moslem neighbours in all the 
surrounding villages flew upon the spoil, killing Syrians, running 
off with their cattle and household goods and even stripping 
those who were trying to run away from them of their money, 
bundles and any clothes they took a fancy to. They also carried 
off women and tried to force Christians to become Moslems, 
keeping them safely if they would deny their faith or repeat the 
sentence which constituted the acceptance of Islam. In some 
cases they were successful in this, though, of course, many would 
not and some of them were killed for it. 

Then came the rush of the Kurds. They came in hundreds 
from every Kurdish quarter, sore against the Christians for having 
joined forces with the Russians, who had armed them and drafted 
them for military service whether they would or not. 

They, being armed, ])ut up a fight and killed a good many 
Kurds in the battles at some of the villages, though there were 
a couple of thousand Syrians killed too in the villages, before 
they escaped to the slender protection offered by six unarmed 
American men in our mission compound. Our flag was put up, 
not only on our own property here in the city but on all the 

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URMIA. 



adjoining block of Christian property in the city ; doors were 
made or holes in the walls between all that adjoining property, to 
bring it under our control, and only our principal big street-gate 
was allowed to be opened, all others being barricaded. There 
in the city between ten and fifteen thousand, many thousands of 
them destitute, congregated and sat huddled in rooms, a hundred 
in a room or more, sometimes unable to lie down at night on 
account of the crowding. 

We had a good deal of money entrusted to us by the people 
who had to flee, and as most of it is in silver ten-penny pieces, 
there being no paper money in circulation here, they could 
carry away but Uttle, and we took charge of large sums without 
interest, to be used by us if necessary and repaid when banking 
was resumed. With this we began to feed the people. - It was 
the system in the city to sell bread until noon, and after that to 
distribute one of the thin sheets of bread to every one who had 
nothing to eat and no money to buy anything. This distribution 
took a force of about twenty or thirty men seven hours to get 
through. 

The city church is in the enclosure under the American flag, 
and it held three thousand ill-smelling people with their few 
earthly possessions remaining to them. 

fv ; Here at the College we had about two thousand, and as we 
have few buildings the housing was a problem. 

We had five hundred in the hospital. Our largest ward has 
only ten beds in it, and by putting people on the fioor between 
the beds we could get in about twenty, but in two other large 
wards that we took the bedsteads out of, over a hundred apiece 
sat huddled together on the floor, without fire or lights, as we 
could not afford them for them. We had those who were destitute 
here ; those who had escaped with their cattle and a sack of flour 
or some bedding or a carpet we put over on the other side of the 
avenue in the College buildings. 

I fed those on the hospital side besides attending to the 
regular hospital routine, which was heavier on account of the 
wounded Christians who were being brought in every day. 

My own rooms consist of my dining room and sitting room, 
in one of which I have a couch to sleep on, a kitchen and a little 
room downstairs for my man. 

I reserved one room for myself for living, dining and bedroom 
combined, and took in seven of the College boys, students from 
the mountains, who are here all the year round and whom I knew 
pretty well, to bring their native beds to live in my dining room. 
Seakhan had the kitchen full of her people and friends, seven or 
eight of them, and Choban took two families into his room 
downstairs. 

The boys helped me by distributing the bread in the hospital 
and holding evening prayers in the different rooms in the hospital. 

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MRS. COCHRAN. 



153 



Then we all began to get the typhoid fever. We had some 
Turkish soldiers in the hospital with it, and the people were 
ignorant and careless, so we had an epidemic of it. We have 
seven hundred new-made graves in our compound here at the 
College, as the result of it. 

I have had it and recovered, and am as strong and well as 
ever, though somewhat thinner, fortunately. I had a Syrian 
trained nurse, the only one in Urmia, as I was the first missionary 
to go down with it, being in the most direct contact with it in 
the hospital (though Dr. Packard went down the day after I did). 
He also recovered. The little Swiss governess the Coans brought 
out with them was the first to die of the foreigners, and then 
followed the death of Mrs. McDowell and, this week, my dear 
Louise Shedd, my best friend here — a friend of fifteen years' 
standing from the time we were together in charge of the 
seminary. All my boys went down too, and my favourite one 
died — such a simple, sweet Christian boy. Others of the mission- 
aries who have had it or are having it are Dr. Coan and EHzabeth, 
Bertha Shedd and Mrs. Miiller. Mrs. Muller gave birth to a 
seven months' baby boy, who Hved a day, and then she went 
on to have typhoid. Besides these there were Miss Lewis, Miss 
Schoebel, Miss Lamme and Mr. Allen. 

In the hospital there was a time when the head physician- 
assistant. Dr. Daniel (who died of it), the matron, the druggist, 
all the nurses, the cook and the bake-woman, the steward and 
the washer- women were all down together, and two hundred 
and fifty patients to be taken care of. You can imagine, or rather 
you can't begin to imagine, the disorganisation of the place. 
Elizabeth Coan took my place at first, and in two weeks was 
having it. Then Miss Lamme came to take her place and in 
two weeks she, too, was on her back. The Syrian woman who 
came next to fill the vacancy is still at it, though I am back at 
some work, being now safe from infection. My man had it, 
but my woman has weathered the gale so far, and after three 
months we have to record to-day that for ten days past not 
one new case has come down here. One of the boys, Seakhan's 
mother and two of the men in Choban's room have died^of it in 
my " family." 

In the city it was even worse. It is raging in our big com- 
pound, though from the first they had from ten to forty deaths 
a day from cold, privation, illness of one kind and another, and 
perhaps shock from fright. In another part of the city, where 
we have a big school building for our Moslem boys' -school, three 
thousand people were rescued and brought in by Dr. Packard's 
valiant intervention, when he rode up to the Kurdish chief In the 
thick of a fight between Kurds and the villagers entrenched in 
Russian trenches and fighting for their lives, begged the lives of 
the inhabitants, and after parleying awhile succeeded in buying 
the souls of the people in exchange for their guns.* He^rode 

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URMIA. 



back to the city with them after the sun had set on a January 
night, reaching the city about nine o'clock, their homes being 
robbed and burned behind them by the Kurds. 

Turkish rule and Kurdish plundering have reduced the 
inhabitants to the verge of starvation, and as yet the end is not 
in sight. 

Yesterday the Turks and Kurds arose and departed, and it is 
supposed that the Russians are about to return. They are only a 
day's journey distant, having just been successful in a long fight 
with a Turkish army that came from Constantinople via Mosul, 
and after a three months' march was cut to pieces by the Russians 
near Gavilan, a day's journey from here. There were twenty 
thousand or more of them, well equipped, but the Russians had 
the advantage of a fortified position, a knowledge of the he of the 
land and perhaps superior numbers. We don't know anything 
definite about that. 

We haven't had a word of war news during 1915 so far, and 
feel as if we were in the bottom of a well as far as seeing what is 
going on about us is concerned. 

No mail has penetrated the veil that hides the world from us, 
but we have had a telegram from the American Ambassador in 
Constantinople inquiring for our safety, and have sent telegrams 
saying we had not been disturbed personally, which is one of the 
miracles of missions, by the way. Just now things are very 
tense here ; the Moslem Governor is doing well in trying to 
control things, but the Moslems hate the Christians, so that they 
are killing some of those who have gone back to their ruined 
villages to live. 

There is no power of description that can overdraw the 
picture, that is and has been before our eyes constantly, of misery 
and distress. Instead we have to veil it, for details are too 
horrible, too revolting to try to convey to people who are not 
called upon by God to go through it. But whatever the end 
may be for me, I am sure I can only be thankful God has given 
me such an unlimited opportunity for service as these past 
months have been. 

If the Russians come back or the Turks stay away, we shall 
have a mail system established again, if there is such a thing 
going on across the world nowadays. Since last July we have 
had Httle mail on account of the war, but some did leak through 
till the 1st January (1915), since when we have been like Moses 
when the light went out. 

We are still feeding thousands of people — just enough bread 
every day to keep life in their bodies — and have saved the Syrian 
nation but have accumulated thirty or forty thousand dollars 
(six to eight thousand pounds sterling) of debt, which we don't 
know where to find money to repay. We only know of six 
thousand dollars (£1,200 sterling) that were telegraphed as 

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MRS. COCHRAN. 



155 



relief two or three months ago. But we hope the Red Cross 
Society and charitable people in America will send us money. 

We haven't even been able to get our money from the Board 
sent to Tabriz, but even what could be i)aid on our regular salaries 
has been paid out of these borrowed funds. However, when 
things settle down a little we can get at that if there are any of 
us left by that time. 

Just now I have regularly one school-boy and often a few 
others at my table, as they are all hungry with the hunger that 
comes after typhoid and the College fare is reduced to bread and 
cheese. 

The one who eats with me all the time is a boy from the 
village Dr. Packard delivered, Geogtapa, and his father was killed 
and his house burned and goods carried off or destroyed. Their 
food supplies were left, mostly, as the robbers got their fill and 
could only destroy the rest. For instance, a cellar had jars of 
molasses smashed and into that was thrown their flour, and on 
that pickles by jars-full — the big earthen pointed-bottomed jars 
that household supplies are all stored in here. Into this pudding 
were thrown their books, few in number, perhaps, but all the 
more valued for that. Then this boy, because he belongs to a 
village where soldier guards have been placed and some degree 
of safety assured, was told that he must go home. That was a 
general rule, and when I learned the state of things I told him 
he could eat with me till things cleared up. Then they have 
fields and vineyards that can be worked, and he has older brothers 
in America and Tiflis who will look after him. He is about 
eighteen, the youngest of the family and the only one left 
at home. He is only one case out of thousands equally at a loss 
just now. He has his room at the College and sleeps over there 
with other students. 

I hope you have all been kept in safety during these months 
and will write to me all about yourselves and the world at large. 



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URMIA . 



33. URMIA : LETTER, DATED URMIA, 25th MAY, 1915, FROM THE 
REV. Y. M. NISAN TO THE REV. F. N. HEAZELL, ORGANISING 
SECRETARY OF THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY'S 
ASSYRIAN MISSION. 

The day after the departure of our missionaries from Urmi, 
that is, the 3rd January (1915), the Kurds and Turks, and with 
them a great number of the Moslems of Urmi, began to raid and 
kiU and to make captives from a large part of the Christian villages. 

The majority of the Christians, to the number of about 25,000, 
took refuge in the courtyards of the Americans and French 
and in our own premises. Up to the present time there is a large 
number of the Syrians in our yard ; another portion, we do not 
know how many, fled to Russia with the Russian army. The 
besieged people here were provided with bread, one portion each 
per day, by the missionaries ; but many have not escaped death. 
People died from the following causes : — (1) From fear ; (2) from 
their bad dweUing places ; (3) from cold ; (4) from hunger ; 
(5) from typhoid fever — the dead up to now from this disease, as 
far as we can tell, are from 800 to 1,000. Those who died from 
the slaughter and raiding of villages numbered 6,000. Many 
died in the houses of their refuge from the causes mentioned above. 
About 2,000 died of those who fled (to Russia), either on the road 
or after their arrival there. In our house my daughter Beatrice 
died from fright, and, 25 days after Beatrice, Mrs. Nisan died 
from grief at the loss of her daughter ; also Michael, nephew of 
Khan Audishu, my relative, and to-day his wife, too. Nanajan, 
my daughter-in-law, and her two sisters are now in bed with 
typhoid fever. 

One day 48 people were seized in the yard of the French Mission. 
Mar Dinkha, bishop of the Old Church, was one of them. As they 
were keeping him in prison some days, I tried to buy off Mar 
Dinkha with the promise of 50 gold pieces, but they asked 100. 
I was outwitted at that time, for as often as I raised my offer 
they would advance the price. Then they carried them outside, 
and when they were bound arm to arm they were all shot. 

Once they went to the village of Gulpashan and demanded a 
sum of money ; they took money and carried off everything else 
as weU ; 45 men who were on the watch were killed that night. 

At the beginning of events, the Turks demanded, in the name 
of the Persian Government, every kind of weapon for hewing and 
cutting (instead of knives) ; these were all seized in the name of 
the Persian Government. Afterwards two Osmanh officers and 
some soldiers came to the houses and searched for weapons 
and men in our yards, and so to every room and cupboard. 
Boxes were opened and examined, and the people were in the 
greatest fear. 

One day afterwards they entered the yard and seized Mar 
EHa, the Russian Bishop and Doctor Lokman. After a long im- 
prisonment the Bishop was ransomed for 6,500 tomans, and the 

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157 



doctor for 2,000 tomans. The Melet Bashi ot the French was taken 
from their yard and afterwards ransomed for 3,000 tomans. 
Shamasha Lazar, whose house is just by the American gate, was 
seized and bought off for 4,500 tomans. The enemy had one list 
of 80 names, written by their own hand, of men who were doomed 
to be killed, or bought off at a great price. 

Audishu Khan fled from our house to the house of a Moslem 
friend, and remained hidden for two months, but by the rogues 
of the village and the commander here he was robbed of 27,000 
tomans. 

One night two Turkish officers with some soldiers descended by 
means of a ladder into our yard ; they seized Mr. George, our 
neighbour, and the brother-in-law of Mr. Comin, who was groom 
in his house ; also Jawar, our gatekeeper, and Babu our cook and 
his son ; also Kasha PiUpus, natir kursi of Mar Yohannan, and 
Asakhan my servant. At that time, because I had two persons 
very ill, I was watching from the balcony of my house so that 
they might not enter my rooms. Twice they came beneath the 
balcony and looked up, and when they saw me they went away. 
There is no doubt that the angels were watching over us and sent 
these men away. 

At first Jawar's brother and his son were seized, when carrjdng 
bread for him (Jawar). After an imprisonment of two nights 
and one day we got them out by paying 68 tomans for the two of 
them. A friend of mine worked this for my sake. 

The Osmanlis and the Kurds left Urmi two days ago. The 
Russian army is now a little way from Urmi. To-day we are 
very confused and fearful ; they are saying that the Russian army 
will return. One part of the Syrians have fled and left Urmi. 

One letter previous to this one — I doubt if it has reached you. 
I shall be glad if you will let me know quickly what is to be my 
work here in the future, because just now I am like a bird without 
a nest and without companions. There is no word from Samuel 
my son, and I do not know where he is. 



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34. URMIA : NARRATIVE OF DR. JACOB SARGIS, RECORDED 
IN A DESPATCH, DATED PETROGRAD, 12th FEBRUARY, 
1916, FROM THE CORRESPONDENT AT PETROGRAD OF 
THE AMERICAN " ASSOCIATED PRESS." 

Dr. Jacob Sargis, an American Methodist medical missionary, 
who has arrived in Petrograd after narrowly escaping death at 
the hands of the Turks and Kurds in Urmia, Persian Armenia, 
asserts that among the outrages committed against the Christian 
refugees was the burning to death of an American doctor named 
Simon, or Shimmun, as he was known there. His identity was 
not further established, but the story of the outrage, as told by 
Dr. Sargis, was as follows : 

" Dr. Shimmun was in the village of Supurghan when the 
Turks attacked that place. He was among those who took refuge 
on a mountain near the lake. He was captured and told that 
since he had been a good doctor and had helped the wounded, 
they would not kill him, but that he must accept the Mohammedan 
faith. He refused, as almost all Christians did. They poured oil 
on him, and, before applying the torch, they gave him another 
chance to forsake his religion. Again he refused, and they set 
his clothes afire. While he was running in agony from the flames, 
the Turks shot him several times. After he fell to the ground 
unconscious, they hacked his head off. Mr. Allen, an American 
missionary, who went from village to village burying the victims 
of this butchery, found the body of Shimmun half eaten by dogs. 

" The CathoHc Mission there took 150 Christians of all sects, 
and kept them in a small room and tried to save them ; but at 
least 49 of them, among them one Bishop Dinkha, of the Episcopal 
Mission, were bound together one night, taken to Gagin mountain 
and there shot down." 

Mr. Sargis was born in Persia, but went to America in 1893, 
and was educated there by the assistance of Dr. W. F. Oldham, 
former Bishop of India. He is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan and 
Ohio Medical University, and was for a time resident physician 
of the Protestant hospital at Columbus, Ohio. 

Dr. Sargis was doing relief work in Urmia on the 1st January 
last year when the Russian army retired from that city, followed 
by 14,000 refugees from Urmia and a hundred surrounding villages. 
The hardships and sufferings endured by those refugees were 
described in Associated Press despatches. There were still left 
in Urmia and the villages 45,000 persons, chiefly Armenian 
refugees, when the Turks and Kurds entered. The latter at 
once began the work of exterminating the Christian population. 
In one town alone, Gulpashan, in one night, according to 
Dr. Sargis, 79 men and boys were tied hand to hand, taken 
to a hill outside the village and shot. Their wives and 
daughters were distributed among the Turks, Kurds and Persian 
Mohammedans. 

[34] 



DR. JACOB SARGiS. 



159 



Dr. Sargis' story continues : 

" On the second day after the Turkish officers came, they 
liad a good many wounded and sick. As soon as they heard that 
I was an al)le physician, they took me, gave me a bodyguard, 
and put me in charge of Urmia Hospital. That was how 1 
came to learn most of their secrets ; I helped their wounded and 
sick. One daj^ there were sixty men brought from Bashkala, 
all well-to-do citizens, some of them noted men of that place. 
They were used as beasts of burden and forced to carry rolls of 
barbed wire into Urmia. The next day they were all taken to 
the Castle of Ismayil*^ and every one was shot or hacked to death. 

" About that time Nuri, the governor of Gawar, told me that 
he had received word from the Turkish commander to kill all the 
Armenian soldiers in the Turkish army. He said that, for my 
sake, he would not do it, but that somebody else would. Twenty - 
nine were killed about fifteen miles from Urmia, at Karmad. 
We had eight of them in the city, fine fellows, some of them 
educated in Beirout. They had been disarmed, and one night 
they took them to the suburbs and shot them. But one of them, 
named Aslamf, escaped. He dropped with the others, but was 
not hit. After the butchers left, he made his way to the Presby- 
terian mission college. I was notified and asked to take care of 
him. I kept him until the Russian army came. He joined, and 
is now fighting with them. 

" In the First Turkish corps, commanded by HaHl Bey, 
there were about 400 Armenians. One of them, Gulbenkian, a 
graduate of Beirout, told me that they were all doomed to be 
butchered. When they appointed me head physician of the 
hospital, they gave me j)lenty of helpers, including seven Christian 
nurses, six Arabs and one Greek. Gulbenldan told me that if I 
did not help them they would be killed. An Arab doctor, Bahadin 
Effendi, was appointed to work under my direction. My Greek 
nurse warned me that Bahadin had already killed more than 
fifty Armenian Christians, and cautioned me to watch him. 
One night about ten o'clock, Bahadin sent for me, saying that he 
was sick. Fortunately for me, the Greek and two Armenian 
nurses went with me. When I reached the hospital, I found that 
Bahadin was not sick at all. He said to me : ' What business 
have you to disturb me at this time of the night ? Your coming 
shows that you have some designs upon my life.' I told him 
that it was a mistake, that I had been told he was sick, and went 
away. At the bottom of the stairs I was overtaken by an officer, 
who said that the doctor had not done with me. I protested, but 
was ordered to go back. So I put my trust in the Lord and went. 

The doctor greeted me with the question : ' Who gave you 
j)ermission to leave the room ? ' and continued : ' You are a 
prisoner, and you will never see the fight of to-morrow's sun.' 

* Ismael Agha's Kala. See page 162 below. f Arslan (?). 

[34] 



160 



URMIA. DR. JACOB SARGIS 



I told him that I was an American citizen, and that I was helping 
the wounded for the sake of humanity. He cut me off by sajdng : 
' This is wartime. The top of youv cap is green. That means 
that you are a descendant of the prophet, and it will give me 
pleasure to destroy your hfe to-night. I must think how I shall 
kill you. I could throw you out of the window, but that would 
be too quick. I could shoot you, but that also is too good for 
you. I shall have to use my sword. You sit down there in that 
corner, and these Turkish nurses will sing your funeral before I 
begin to cut you up.' 

" The Turks began to sing a droning chant and I had no 
choice but to sit and listen. My bodyguard, the Greek nurse 
Theodore and two Armenian soldiers, the latter my servants, 
stood outside the door, and when they heard the chanting the}^ 
thought it was all over with me. The Greek, who was a shrewd 
fellow, told my bodyguard to enter, and, if he saw^ me, to say that 
the patients wanted to see the doctor. All of a sudden I saw him 
enter with a lantern. He saluted the effendi and said : * The 
patients want the doctor.' I didn't give Bahadin a chance to 
say a word. I was up and out and down in the street in about 
two seconds. When I got to the outpost they yelled from the 
window to stop me, but they were too late. My bodyguard and 
the Armenians and the Greek followed close behind me, and I 
got awaj^ I reached home at midnight. My wife and children 
thought I was already dead." 

Dr. Sargis turned the tables on the Arab doctor by alleging 
that he was insane, and having him put under guard and on a 
milk diet, notwithstanding that he was a doctor in Halil Bey's 
army. 

" Soon after the Russians left Urmia a German machinist, 
Neumann, who came in with the Turks, announced himself as 
German Consul. By his orders a Christian of the name of Moushi 
was hanged. Neumann had promised me to release Moushi, but 
overnight he sold him to the Turks for £50. An Englishman 
named Jonathan George, well known in Tabriz, a relative of my 
wife, was whipped on Neumann's orders. In the village of 
Karadjalu a young Christian with a wife and two children was 
killed by a Mohammedan. The murderer took the wife and 
children, promising to protect them ; but while crossing a bridge 
he threw the children into the river. At Ardishai 75 women and 
girls ran into the sea* to escape the Turks. They refused to trust 
promises of safety if they came out, and were all shot as they 
stood in the water. Eight thousand five hundred died in the 
vicinity of Urmia in five months ; 1,500 were killed, and the rest 
died of cold and hunger. 

" During the days of the Turkish occupation it was no unusual 
sight to see an old woman carrying the body of her daughter or 
son to a place of burial, digging the grave herself or with the aid 
of other women." 



♦ i.e., Lake Urmia. 
[34] 



URMIA. ANNUAL REPORT OF MEDICAL DEPARTMENT. 161 



35. URMIA : EXTRACTS PROM THE ANNUAL REPORT (FOR THE 
YEAR 1915) PRESENTED BY THE MEDICAL DEPARTMENT 
AT URMIA TO THE BOARD OF FOREIGN MISSIONS OP THE 
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN THE U.S.A. 

A sad case was that of the mother of a girl of twelve who was 
being taken away to a Hfe of slavery. The mother protested 
and tried to save her child, who was ruthlessly torn from her. 
As the daughter was being dragged away the mother made so 
much trouble for her oppressors, and clung to them so tenaciously, 
that they stabbed her twelve times before she fell, helpless to 
save her little girl from her fate. This woman recovered from 
her wounds. Some people were shot as they ran, and children 
that they were carrying were killed or wounded with them. In 
some cases men were hned up so that several could be shot with 
one bullet, in order not to waste ammunition on them. 

At the height of the epidemic not less than two thousand were 
sick. The mortahty reached forty-eight daily, and the fact 
that four thousand died, besides the one thousand who were 
killed, will help to make vivid the terrible conditions that 
prevailed in our crowded premises. All ranks have suffered — 
preachers, teachers, physicians, etc., as well as the poor — for all 
had to Uve in the same unhygienic surroundings. 

One of the most terrible things that came to the notice of the 
Medical Department was the treatment of Syrian women and 
girls by the Turks, Kurds and local Mohammedans. After the 

massacre in the village of , almost all the women and 

girls were outraged, and two little girls, aged eight and ten, 
died in the hands of Moslem villains. A mother said that not a 
woman or girl above twelve (and some younger) in the village of 

escaped violation. This is the usual report from the 

villages. One man, who exercised a great deal of authority in 
the northern part of the Urmia plain, openly boasted of having 
ruined eleven Christian girls, two of them under seven years of 
age, and he is now permitted to return to his home in peace and 
no questions are asked. Several women from eighty to eighty - 
five years old have suffered with the younger women. One 
woman who was prominent in the work of the Protestant Church 
in another village was captured by eighteen men and taken to 
a solitary place, where they had provided for themselves food and 
drink. She was released the next day and permitted to drag 
herself away. Later she came to the city to accuse her outragers, 
and practically did not get a hearing from the Government. 

There is little to reheve the blackness of this picture. The 
Government gave some assistance in the finding and returning 
of Christian girls. A few have been brought back by Kurds. 
In one case eleven girls and young women, who had been taken 
away from Geogtapa, were sent to me by the chief of the Zarza 
tribe of Kurds. Several companies have been sent also by the 
Begzadi Kurds to Targawar. Since the return of the Russians 

[35J 



162 



URMIA. 



to Urmia some of the Kurds have tried to curry favour by 
returning prisoners that they have held for months, but quite 
a number are still held by them, some of them women who have 
been married to some of the principal servants of the chiefs. 

It would not be right to close this report of medical work in 
Urmia without a word about the native physicians. One of 
them received a martyr's crown early in January in the village 
of Khanishan. Four died in the epidemics. One had been 
a worker for many years in the plain of Gawar, two days' journey 
to the west of Urmia. One of them was a companion in the 
attempt to find Karini Agha at the very beginning of the troubles 
here that resulted in the rescue of the people of Geogtapa. One 
was the assistant in the hospital. He had been in the hospital 
since his graduation in 1908, and was a most faithful and efficient 
man. During the awful first days of fear, murder and rapine, 
it was his hands that dressed and re-dressed most of the wounded, 
with the help of medical students. He thought little of himself 
and wore himself out until he could not eat, keeping on at his 
work for three days after he began to be ill. His Hfe was given 
in the noblest self-sacrifice, and many people will remember him 
with deep affection. The fourth was one of the refugees in our 
yard who, though he was not very active, frequently prescribed 
for a number of patients. His wife, who is a graduate in medicine 
in America, in spite of the death of her husband and two children, 
kept bravely on with her work, trying to reHeve some of the 
suffering. She had charge of the maternity cases and examined 
many of the outraged women and girls after they finally reached 
us. 

The most diaboHcally cold-blooded of all the massacres was 
the one committed above the village of Ismael Agha's Kala, 
when some sixty Syrians of Gawar were butchered by the Kurds 
at the instigation of the Turks. These Christians had been 
used by the Turks to pack telegraph wire from over the border, 
and while they were in the city of Urmia they were kept in close 
confinement, without food or drink. On their return, as they 
reached the valleys between the Urmia and Baradost plains, 
they were all stabbed to death, as it was supposed, but here 
again, as in two former massacres, a few wounded, bloody victims 
succeeded in making their way to our hospital. 

The testimony of the survivors of the massacre at Ismael Agha's 
Kala is confirmed by the following extract from a letter, dated Sth 
November, 1915, from the Rev. E. T. Allen of Urmia : — - 

PoHtically, things are in apparently good order. People are 
easily frightened and are nervous, but we have good hopes. 
Yesterday I went to the Kala of Ismael Agha and from there 
to Kasha, and some men went with me up the road to the place 
where the Gawar men were murdered by the Turks. It was 
a gruesome sight — perhaps the worst I have seen at all. 

[35] 



ANNUAL REPORT OF MEDICAL DEPARTMENT. 



163 



There were seventy-one or two bodies ; we could not tell exactly, 
because of the conditions. It is about six months since the 
murder. Some were in fairly good condition — dried, like a 
mummy. Others were torn to pieces by the wild animals. 
Some had been daggered in several places, as was evident from 
the cuts in the skin. The majority of them had been shot. The 
ground about was littered with empty cartridge-cases. It was 
a long way off from the Kala, and half-an-hour's walk from the 
main road into the most rugged gorge I have seen for some time. 
I suppose the Turks thought no word could get out from there — . 
a secret, soHtary, rocky gorge. How those three wounded men 
succeeded in getting out and reaching the city is more of a marvel 
than I thought it was at the time. The record of massacre 
burials now stands as follows : — 

At Tcharbash, forty in one grave, among them a bishop. 
At Gulpashan, fifty-one in one grave, among them the most 
innocent persons in the country ; and now, above the Kala of 
Ismael Agha, seventy in one grave, among them leading merchants 
of Gawar. 

These one hundred and sixty-one persons, buried by me, 
came to their death in the most cruel manner possible, at the 
hands of regular Turkish troops in company with Kurds under 
their command. 



[35] 



1G4 



URMIA, SALMAS AND HAKKIARI. 



'36. URMIA, SALMAS AND HAKKIARI : STATEMENT* BY MR. 
PAUL SHIMMONt, PUBLISHED IN THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL 
" ARARAT," OF LONDON, NOVEMBER, 1915. 

Seeing that Ararat is truly a searchlight on all the sufferings of 
Eastern Christians, a comforter to the broken-hearted and a 
fighter for their rights, I have felt it my duty and privilege to 
write just some bare facts of the past and present position of the 
Syrians in Urmi (Urmia) and Salmas in Persia, and in the 
Kurdistan mountains south of Van. What I will say of Urmi 
and Salmas applies equally to the Armenians of the two places.- 
in the latter of which they predominate. 

The Russian troops had been in occupation of Azerbaijan, 
north-western Persia, for a number of years, and their presence 
meant safety, prosperity and security of person and property 
both to Christians and Moslems alike. Under the conditions then 
prevailing, the Kurds had been restrained entirely from their 
occupation of plunder, and the Turks were deprived of prominence 
in that part of Persia which they have coveted for years. The 
Persians also have been restless, and their attitude towards the 
Christians was somewhat doubtful. On the 2nd January, 1915, it 
was suddenly known that the Russian army, consulate and all, 
were leaving Urmi — and not that alone, but it was found later 
that they were withdrawing from all northern Persia. It came 
like a thunderbolt, for it had been positively stated all along to 
the Christian population that the Russian army would under no 
circumstances withdraw from Urmi. Here, then, in the heart 
of winter, some 45,000 Christians, from nine to ten days' journey 
from the nearest railway station to the Russian border, found 
themselves in a very precarious position. No conveyances, 
horses, &c., &c., could be had for love or money. Roughly 
speaking, one-third of the people who happened to know of this 
withdrawal, through whose villages the army was to pass, left 
for Russia. The great majority simply left their homes and 
walked out. Some only heard of the withdrawal during the 
night, and so could hardly make any provision for the journey. 
A good number of people from Tergawar and Mergawar, and out- 
lying districts, who were already refugees in Urmi — having been 
plundered on two or three occasions previously — left with the 
army. So there was a concourse of over 10,000 people, mostly 
women and children, walking in the bitter cold, scantily provided, 
sore-footed, wearied, that had to make their way to the Russian 

* For a fuller version of Mr. Shimmon's statement see p. 577 below. 

t Mr. Shimmon is a graduate of Columbia University, New York, 
and has been resident at Urmia for the past fourteen years. He was 
an eye-witness of the events he relates ; and, after the retreat of the 
Turks and Kurds, he was appointed Commissioner for the Baranduz 
District of Urmia (under the authority of the Russian Consul and the 
Persian Governor) for the restoration of plundered Christian property. 
He has since undertaken a mission to Great Britain and the U.S., as the 
representative of His Beatitude Mar Shimun, the head of the Nestorian 
Church. 



[36J 



MR. PAUL SHIMMON. 



165 



frontier over mountains and along miserable roads and through 
swamps. Their cries and shrieks as they walked were heart- 
rending. The people of Salmas had left two or three days earlier 
and under somewhat better conditions. There was a swamp 
between Salmas and Khoi where people actually went knee-deep, 
where oxen and buffaloes died of cold, and where there was no 
real resting place and provisions could only be procured from a 
distance of some ten miles. The agonies of the children were 
inexpressible. Some mothers had two or three children to take 
care of, and they dragged one along while they carried the other 
on their shoulders. Many died on the roadside, many lost their 
parents, many were left unburied, many were picked up by the 
Russian cossacks and were taken to the Russian Caucasus to 
be there cared for by Armenians and others. Such was their 
plight when they reached Russia, and in some way or another were 
provided for in the Syrian and Armenian villages in Erivan and 
in Tiflis, where they passed their time till the spring, when they 
again wearied of their lives and returned to Urmi and Salmas in 
the months of May and June. 

About two-thirds of the people who stayed behind at Urmi 
had the cruellest of fates. No sooner had the Russian forces 
withdrawn than the roads were closely guarded, and no one was 
permitted to come in or go out of Urmi for over four months. 
The Kurds poured in from every quarter, and the Persian Moslems 
joined hands with them. The};^ engulfed the Christian villages ; 
plunder, pillage, massacre and rape were the order of the day. 
Every village paid its share. First they killed the men, then they 
took the women — those who had not escaped— and carried them 
away for themselves or forced them to become Moslems, and 
finally they plundered and burned the villages. In one village 
80 were killed, in another 50, in a third 30, and so the thing went 
on in varying degrees among the 70 odd villages in Urmi. About 
one thousand people were disposed of in this way. In the mean- 
time all that were able escaped to the city to the American mission 
quarters, whose premises were soon filled to suffocation, and alto- 
gether some 20,000 people or more found shelter in the American 
and French mission quarters, while some hid themselves among 
Moslem friends and landlords. These refugees, in their flight, 
were repeatedly robbed on the way by soldiers and officers sent for 
their protection, and by civiHans as well. Many a woman came 
terror-stricken, shrieking, and bleeding, and almost naked ; 
and many were forced to become Moslems. Some 150 cases or 
more of these unfortunate women came under the notice of the 
American missionaries, who tried to restore them to their own 
folk. One woman had two sons, four and six years of age, who 
were thrown into a brook to freeze, while the brute of a mullah 
set to work to force their mother. She at last escaped and took 
away the children alive, but they died of exposure the next 
morning. 



166 



URMIA, S ALMAS AND HAKKIARI. 



Thus in the course of a fortnight all the 45,000 Syrians and 
Armenians were plundered — not one village escaped. There was 
no exception. The village of Triawa was in the keeping of an 
Armenian — a Turkish subject. He, with twelve other Armenian 
soldiers, was shot, and the village plundered. Gulpashan was 
the last to be attacked, when, on the 1st February, 51 of its elders 
were taken during the night to the graveyard and there murdered 
most horribly and their brains knocked out. The orgies com- 
mitted on women and tender girls can be left only to the 
imagination. I have known the village from childhood and all 
its inhabitants. 

The refugees in the French and American mission yards 
remained there for over four and a half months, in daily terror and 
fear of their lives ; the quarters were crowded to suffocation, and 
no man dared leave the premises. Seeing that a few houses of 
Christians were left in the city which were not plundered, the dozen 
or less of Turkish officials, who had control of things, began to 
fleece the people. They forced them to pay a fine of 6,600 tomans 
(a toman is about one pound sterHng*), on the pretext that the 
Christian stores, offices and shops in the city would be saved from 
plunder. But no sooner was this sum extracted through the 
kindly offices of the American missionaries than they began to 
put up to auction and dispose of all the shops, offices and stores. 
Not satisfied with what they had done, they obtained 5,500 tomans 
as blood money for Mar Elia, the Syrian Bishop, whom they 
found in hiding on the roof of a house, and threatened to kill 
him unless the money was paid. Then, again, such prominent 
men as Shamasha Lazar, Shamasha Babu and Dr. Isaac Daniel 
had to pay 3,000, 2,000 and 1,000 tomans respectively to save their 
lives. Such was the perpetual terror in which the whole com- 
munity lived. 

Soon disease broke out, typhoid played havoc, and over 4,000 
died of the epidemic alone. There was scarcely any life left in 
the remnant of the people when the Russians retook Urmi in 
May. They were worn out and so emaciated that one could 
hardly recognise them. It was the first time for months that 
they were able to crawl out of their filthy winter quarters and to 
inhale fresh air. The Americans, who had fed these people all 
through the winter, now gave the men and women spades and 
sickles to return to their villages, and some flour to start life in 
their ruined homes. I have seen villages turned to ashes, where 
not one window, door or any woodwork was to be found. Indeed, 
one day a woman came and said to me : " I have one room out of 
seven loft on the second storey, but what shall 1 do ? There is 
not a single ladder in all the village that I can borrow so as to 
mount to it." What they had left in their " homes," these 
people found on their return to have been eaten by dogs and cats. 

* 1 toman=10 krans, and its actual value in English money is about 
35. Ad. — Editor. 

[36] 



MR. PAUL SHIMMON. 



167 



They have not sown anything this autumn, nor were they able to 
do any sowing or cultivating in the spring. Ninety per cent, of 
them have absolutely nothing left, and they sleep on the bare 
hard earthen floor, with no bedding or any other protection 
beyond their ordinary rags. This is their second winter ! 

The majority of the Salmas Christians had left for Russia 
by the time the Urmi people reached Salmas. But there were 
some left who had hidden themselves among kind Moslems here 
and there. When the Turks took possession of Salmas, they used 
every means to find out the whereabouts and number of aU the 
Christians that had remained behind, and one night during 
March last they took some 723 Armenians and Syrians to the 
fields in Haftevan and mangled and butchered them in a most 
brutal manner. Three days later the Russians retook Salmas 
and buried these people in some trenches which they dug for them. 
The same fate was awaiting the women, and perhaps worse, 
but the advent of the Russians saved them. 

The troubles of Mar Shimun's independent tribes of Tiari, 
Tkhuma, &c., in Kurdistan, south of Van, began last June. 
Mar Shimun's seat in the village of Quodshanis was attacked by 
regular troops and Kurds, destroyed and plundered. Most of the 
people escaped to Salmas. Mar Shimun at the time was in the 
interior with the main body of his congregation. A regular 
Turkish force with artillery and some 30,000 Kurds, &o., marched on 
the Christians. The forty villages of Berwar, those nearest towards 
Mosul, were destroyed first, and only some seventeen of them are 
known to have escaped. The women of many of the others have been 
forced to become Moslems. For forty days the people defended 
themselves against superior forces, and that only with flint- 
locks and antiquated rifles. At last, unable to withstand the 
onslaught of modern artillery, with which the Tufks also bom- 
barded the Church of Mar Sawa, the people withdrew to the interior 
of the mountains with the Patriarch's family in their centre ; 
and here they subsisted on herbs and some sheep they had taken 
with them, while many were daily dying of starvation. Mar 
Shimun came to Salmas — I had an interview with him there, 
and he has sent me to speak for him and his — to effect the escape 
of his people, or at least of as many of them as could be saved. 
All this happened in the latter part of September, when, according 
to the telegram received here from H.B.M. Consul Shipley at 
Tabriz, some 25,000 had already arrived, and with them Mar 
Shimun, himself as destitute as the rest, while 10,000 more were 
to follow. The condition of the remnant, for in all there are over 
100,000, is very precarious, but let us hope not hopeless. 
Assistance can be sent to them through Mar Shimun and through 
H.B.M. Consul Shipley. 

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Mission and the Armenian 
(Lord Mayor's) Relief Fund have sent £500 and £550 respectively 

[36] O 



168 



Urmta, Salmas and Hahkiari. Mr. Paul Shimmon. 



to these people. I understand that the Lord Mayor's Fund is 
telegraphing a further £500 for the relief of the Christians in Persia, 
for which I for one feel infinitely grateful, as it cannot but assuage 
some of the terrible suffering that exists. 

Let us now survey the whole situation. As over 90 per cent, 
of the Christians at Urmi are destitute, and the condition of some 
10,000 to 15,000 Armenians and Syrians in Salmas is not much 
better, we have at once some 80,000 people and more who must be 
assisted, if they are not to starve during the coming winter. In 
this we are not taking into account the remnant of Mar Shimun's 
people or any Armenians that might have found their way to 
Persia, where the Russians are now in occupation, and where 
the condition of the Christians will be, so far as personal safety 
goes, more hopeful. The turn events are taking poUtically in 
Persia seems also favourable, but one must never be too confident 
of the poHtical situation there. 

I am delighted to see such a magnificent spirit of response from 
all corners of the world whence Armenians themselves are coming 
to the help of their countrymen. We have to cheer each other 
up in our misfortunes in every way we can, till God in His own way 
shall solve the problem. And with such noble friends as we have 
in England, among whom are the Primate, Lord Bryce, and 
Members of Parliament hke Mr. Aneurin Williams and Mr. T. P. 
O'Connor, and I am sure in America as well — people who would 
do anything for us — let us be patient and prayerful, hoping for 
recompense and release from this tyranny that has had us in its 
grip ever since Mohammedan rule began in our country. 



[36] 



HAKKIARI. MR. PAUL SHIMMON. 



169 



37. HAKKIARI : FURTHER STATEMENT BY MR. PAUL SHIMMON, 
PUBLISHED IN THE CHURCHMAN " NEWSPAPER, AND 
SUBSEQUENTLY ISSUED AS A PAMPHLET ; COMMUNICATED 
BY MRS. D. S. MARGOLIOUTH, OF OXFORD. 

The following is the story of how a Bishop, nay, an Archbishop, 
at the risk of his own life, saved 35,000 souls — one-third of his 
flock — from the pursuing Kurds and Turks, and from impending 
starvation on the heights of the Kurdistan Mountains. He was 
already in the zone of safety, where he could well have stayed ; 
but he turned back, saying : ''I am going back to die with my 
people." By so doing, he rescued a multitude of his people from 
almost certain massacre. 

It will be remembered that the Assyrians (better known in 
Church history as the Nestorian or Syrian Christians) dwell on 
both sides of the Turco-Persian frontier. The bulk of them live 
in the very inaccessible mountains of Kurdistan, east of Mosul, 
which is in Mesopotamia, and south of Lake Van ; while a goodly 
number live in the beautiful plains of Urmia and Salmas in north- 
western Persia and in the adjacent country districts bordering on 
Turkey. Over the former district Mar Shimun, the Patriarch, 
is the supreme ecclesiastical and civil ruler. 

Early last June the Turkish forces with irregular Kurds, under 
the leadership and direction of the Kaimakam, made an attack 
on the court of Mar Shimun in Quodshanis — a Turkish governor 
making an attack on peaceful subjects of the Turkish Empire 
for the simple reason that they were Christians. Quodshanis 
is an isolated place. The Patriarch and members of his court 
were in the interior with the main body of his church, so the people 
of the village could hardly be expected to make more than a bare 
resistance. For two days they fought from within the church, 
but soon their ammunition was exhausted, and the women and 
children were in a desperate position. At night they set out for 
the plains of Salmas in Persia, where I saw them in a most pitiable 
condition. The Patriarchal house, the EngHsh mission, and the 
larger part of the place was plundered and burned. Even the 
tombs of former Patriarchs were violated. 

In the meanwhile a formidable army was being gathered 
against the independent dwellers in the valleys of Tkhuma, 
Tiari, Baz, &c. Both Turkish regulars and Kurds, it is said, to 
the extent of some 30,000, made a combined attack on the 
people who had kept their independence since Tamerlane and 
Ghengis Khan had driven them to the craggy mountains, where 
in some places they have to carry soil on their backs to make 
artificial fields. For the first time in the fife of the people, artillery 
was brought up to bombard their ancient and venerable churches, 
while they themselves made a stout resistance with flintlocks and 
ammunition of their own make. 

For forty days they carried on an unequal warfare against 
tremendous odds, until at last with their families they took 

[37] O 2 



170 



HAKKIARL 



refuge on the top of a high mountain in the Tal country. The 
Patriarchal family took shelter in the famous church of Mar 
Audishu, and the others who had been able to effect an escape 
surrounded them, making a big camp. The Turks and Kurds, 
after having destroyed the Christian villages in the valleys below, 
carrying away the crops and plundering everything, endeavoured 
to starve the fugitives out. Near the church mentioned above 
there is a small fountain gushing from a rock which was hardly 
enough to supply drinking water, and for washing and bathing 
they would often steal at nights to the valleys beneath. The 
people stayed here for nearly three months, never taking off 
their clothes and always on the lookout for an attack by night. 
The few sheep that they had taken with them on their flight 
were almost eaten up now — they had no salt at all, and soon 
hunger and sickness began to make their ravages. There was 
no necessity to deport this Christian population. Its mere 
starvation in the mountains was all that was needed to make an 
end of the oldest ApostoHc Church in existence. 

In the meantime Mar Shimun, the Patriarch, with a few brave 
men, had stolen out by night and made his way to the Russian 
army operating in Salmas, Persia. He was received with great 
distinction, but it was found out after many precious weeks of 
delay that it might not be possible to send any rehef for the people 
in the interior who were not in the line of march. Later on, the 
Russians sent their army to Van, and then Mar Shimun with a few 
faithful followers and good rifles — he himself is an excellent 
shot — set out again for the interior to reach his flock and his 
brothers and sisters. They soon made ready to take the congre- 
gation through the valleys and defiles to the plains of Persia. 

The last day of their stay was the saddest of all. On 
that day Ishaya, a brother of the Patriarch, died of fever. Mar 
Shimun, hearing of his illness, had come over the day before. 
The enemy was then very near, and they could hear the sound of 
the guns in Tkhuma. Just when the funeral of his brother was 
to take place. Surma and Romi, his sisters, and Esther, his sister- 
in-law, were compelled to leave the place, lest they should be 
caught by the enemy. Mar Shimun, two priests and a few laymen 
remained behind at this time of danger to bury Ishaya. The 
burial service was quickly said and the body hastily interred, and 
Mar Shimun hastened after the fleeing women and children. 
They were only just in time, for, a few hours after their departure, 
the Turks arrived and made straight for the church, having 
heard that the Patriarch's household was there. 

I shall not dwell on the horrors of those caught and slain on 
the way nor on the many beautiful viUages ruined and the women 
taken captive, nor on the thousands of others who have met the 
same fate. In one district of forty villages, its Bishop said to me, 
only seventeen had been able to make an escape, and he knew but 
very little of the fearful fate of the rest. I want only to speak of 

[371 



MR. PAUL SHIMMON. 



171 



the living who are anxious to die, but to whom death does not come. 
They arrived in Persia at places already ruined ; they camped 
out in the plain of Salmas (4,000 feet above sea level) sleeping 
in the fields with no clothes to cover them at night, clad in the 
rags which they have worn for many months, without food or 
shelter. Some assistance has gone to them from America and 
England. Some quilts were bought to be distributed, one for 
each family of five persons, to serve as cove;* in the bitter cold. 
Some famihes have as many as ten members, indeed one had 
twenty-eight. These are the people who have been Hving on 
one dollar a month, and to whom flour is served in quantity 
barely sufficient to allow each person one small loaf a day and 
nothing more. I dare say that even their Bishops and other clergy 
are in not much better condition than their flock. ^ 

Assistance, however, can now be sent out to them and will 
reach them immediately. Urmia and Salmas are now in the zone 
of safety, where there are many Russian troops, and these have 
been very kind to the suffering Christians. Money is being sent 
through the American Consul, the missionaries and the Patriarch, 
and is at once distributed to the sufferers. The Rev. Y. M. 
Nisan, who is still ahve, although he has lost his wife and daughter, 
is on the distributing committee. The defeat of the Turks ^at 
Erzeroum means peace and safety of hfe for all Armenia and 
Persia. In the latter country there are over 80,000 destitute, the 
majority of them Assyrians, and some Armenians as well. Money 
is distributed to all without discrimination. 

I have purposely avoided saying anything of the horrors 
that we have suffered at Urmia and the agonies we have nassed 
through, simply because I have felt that the condition of these 
mountaineers is even more pitiable. I hope Christian people 
will be moved at once to make an effort to save them from the 
clutches of starvation. The gallant Patriarch has saved them 
and brought them out of Turkey, where relief will get to them. 
I therefore appeal to all my friends and to others who may be so 
disposed to help rescue this ancient Church. 



172 



REFUGEES FROM HAKKL\RI. 



38 REFUGEES FROM THE HAKKIARI DISTRICT : SERIES OF 
EXTRACTS FROM LETTERS BY MEMBERS OF THE AMERICAN 
MISSION STATION AT URMIA ; COMMUNICATED BY THE 
BOARD OF FOREIGN MISSIONS OF THE PRESBYTERIAN 
CHURCH IN THE U.S.A. 

(a) Extract from a letter, dated 8th November, 1915, from the Rev. E. T. 
Allen (?). 

As you know, the first attack by the combined force of Turks 
and Kurds was made in June and was partially successful. The 
people were driven out of their valleys into the high mountains 
central to Tiari, Tkhoma, Tal and Baz. In this movement not 
many lives were lost, but many villages were destroyed. The 
hostile forces were for some reason withdrawn, and for some 
weeks there was comparative quiet, broken only by spasmodic 
attacks by local forces. About three weeks ago there was another 
concerted attack made by the Turks and Kurds on their strong- 
hold in the mountain top, and they were driven out. Between 
fifteen and twenty thousand, with great difficulty, made their 
escape, part of their road being held by the Kurds. They came 
down the Tal and Kon Valleys, followed by the Kurds, and 
attempted to turn up the Zab to get out by way of Djoulamerk. 
They found the Kurds in force at the Djoulamerk bridge, and 
were forced to turn down stream. At the head of Tiari they 
crossed the Zab and went up into the hills, which they found 
deserted by the Kurds, who had gone to war. They then made 
their way round behind Djoulamerk, meeting no hostile force 
until they reached the ridge between Quodshanis and the Zab. 
Here again they found a force of Kurds waiting for them. They 
had quite a sharp fight with them and the Kurds were worsted. 
From there on they had no more trouble, reaching Bashkala in 
safety, and later coming down to Salmas. 

These are the people I found in Salmas. They number, 
according to my estimate, between fifteen and twenty thousand. 
Among them are Mar Shimun and his family and all our helpers, 
with one or two exceptions. (Mar Shimun is the Patriarch of the 
Nestorian Church.) 

With reference to those who were left in the mountains, 
perhaps a thousand more succeeded in getting through. There 
are still some thousands shut up there, and their fate is still 
uncertain. How many were killed in this last attack, I have 
found no one who could give even an estimate, but undoubtedly 
the number must be large. This is in reference to those in Salmas. 
All the facts cannot be given out, but this is their case in brief. 
The mass of them are without shelter of any kind and also without 
bedding. They are sleeping on the bare ground without covering. 
The rains have begun and the winter promises to set in early. 
What all this means to these thousands who are without shelter, 
you need not be told. 

[38] 



LETTERS FROM URMIA. 



173 



Since coming down a great many of them have been taken 
sick with a pecuHar form of bowel trouble, such as the moun- 
taineers have been having here. Dr. David Yohannan estimates 
that there are as many as one thousand cases. The fatality 
is not as great as might be expected, but there are a great many 
deaths. One tribe reported forty deaths within a week. I 
have seen the dead lying on the roadside, and the women carrying 
their dead, orders to move on giving them little time to die 
decently or to be buried with respect. I 'gave no relief while 
there. Along the road they had gathered up a little grain ; 
the Russians were giving out 1,200 loads, and help was being 
given on the threshing floor and from door to door. I have been 
making a complete list, so that when we are ready to begin we 
shall have them classified and shall be able to handle them. We 
shall give flour or wheat in weekly allowances. The cost per head 
will be about five shahis (Id.). I shall refrain from giving as 
long as I see they can subsist on what they get from other sources. 

Bedding is needed as badly as food. There is not much choice 
between dying from hunger or dying from cold. We shall have 
to supply several thousand outfits, cost of each about three-and- 
a-half tomans (125.). You may rest assured that I shall use the 
utmost caution in the giving of relief. 

There is no further word from those left in the mountains. 
There is still hope that some of them may succeed in getting 
through, but undoubtedly many will be lost. 

(b) Extract from a letter, of later date, from a missionary.* 

About 150 or more of the Mutran'sj people came down. 
Some of the children were a sight to see for destitution. T had 
a tableful of women to breakfast with me the next morning, 
including one of our own pupils who was married into the Mutran's 
family. They said that 200 Turks had been living off them since 
a year ago, but that their floclcs had been so multiplied that they 
were able to sustain the burden. At last the Turks began sending 
twenty men every day with packs on their backs to Mosul, loaded 
with the spoils of their houses, so they feared their own end or 
deportation might be near ; they found a chance to escape one 
day when their guards were a mile or two away, and silently 
stole away with some of their possessions. 

(c) Extract from a letter, of later date, from a missionary, t 

Some of the refugees in Salmas had flocks and possessions, 
but all were ravaged by disease, so that even if they had work 
they could not do it. A boy who was with me found his relatives 
among the people. One uncle of his had been living in the 
barracks. He had lost his three children one after the other, 

* Name withheld. 

t A dignitary of the Nestorian Church, second in rank to the Patriarch. 
Mutran (or Matran)= Metropolitan. 
I Name withheld. 

[38] 



174 REFUGEES FROM HAKKIARI. LETTERS FROM URMIA. 

and then his wife died and he had no one to care for his affairs 
but himself. He was so weak he could not do anything — reduced 
to skin and bone himself — but he got a rope and tried to carry 
the body of liis wife on his back to bury her somewhere. He 
liad not even strength enough to dig her a grave. There the 
story ended. The boy said the man broke down and could not 
tell any more, and he did not have the heart to ask what had 
become of her. 

Another of our preachers has lost three of his four children, 
and the last was very ill when we saw her. His wife had lost 
her brother and two sisters — one of them a pupil in the Fiske 
Seminary. 



[38] 



REFUGEES FROM HAKKIARI. RELATIVE OF MAR SHIMUN. 175 



39. REFUGEES FROM HAKKIARI : LETTER, DATED 26th 
SEPTEMBER /9th OCTOBER, 1915, FROM A RELATIVE OF 
MAR SHIMUN, THE PATRIARCH ; COMMUNICATED BY THE 
REV. F. N. HEAZELL. 

I have not written to you for a long time. I think you will 
know the reason is that the war with Turkey has stopped the post 
to Europe. As you know, during past years there have been 
difficulties between the Turks and ourselves, but now the truth 
of the matter is made clear. When we saw many Christians of 
Gawar and Albek killed without reason, we thought our turn would 
come. Every Idnd of warfare commenced, and since then, for 
months, we have been fighting in the mountains ; in the end we 
were not successful, because the Kurds were helped by the artillery 
of the Turkish Government. Of course when our cartridges 
were exhausted we could not stand before the great force of 
Turkish artillery. Then first of all Tiari was destroyed ; we then 
thought we could flee to the mountains in the hope of victory, 
but soon the Turks came to the entrance of Tkhoma and our hope 
was destroyed — either we must dehver ourselves to Turkey and 
be killed or flee to save ourselves. We did the latter, but even 
then half the nation was left behind. 

Now we are here in DiHman, Salmas but the larger part of 
Tiari and Tkhoma is conquered. Up to the present time we have 
no news of those people ; whether they are aHve or have been 
destroyed, we know not. 

Many of the refugees who come here are djdng of hunger ; 
they have no bedding, and many men just died on the way here. 
Would you were here to see with your own eyes our state ; your 
sympathy would indeed be aroused. All the houses have been 
destroyed (also Mar Shimun's house and your Mission house in 
Quodshanis) and burnt and robbed ; we are in rags and hunger 
and in a strange land. Many of the houses where you have spent 
the night as a guest have no bedding, the house of Mahk Ismail, 
for instance, and the house of Khiyu. 

Of all these the condition of the Tkhumnai is the most miser- 
able ; they are quite destitute. If some help is not forthcoming 
for the nation all hope of survival is at an end, for three parts will 
die of hunger. Our thanks are due to the Russian Consul, who 
is taking care to distribute the people among the villages to prevent 
them dying of cold, for all are under trees and in fields in the open. 

In the course of February, Esther and I and her children went 
down to Mahk Ismail's house in Tiari, for we thought it would be 
safer there. Then we soon moved from Tchumbar to Dadush, 
a smaU village of Tiari. When the Turkish army drew near that 
place we fled to the Church of Mar Audishu of Tal. In each 
place we were obHged to leave behind some of our clothes and our 
bedding ; many times we were hungry ; we made our journeys by 
night, and Esther's little children would faU asleep on the road. 
Three months we stayed in Mar Audishu, the whole time the 

[393 



176 



REFUGEES FROM HAKKIARI. 



fighting drawing nearer. Our brothers are fighting in Dizan, 
and there every three or four men are sleeping together for want 
of quilts at night. We sleep with our clothes on, ready to start 
when it may be necessary. In Mar Audishu the food was good, 
but the provision for sleeping and bathing was bad. Soap there 
was none ; water could be had for drinking and cooking only. 
Sometimes we would go down to one of the Tal villages to wash 
our clothes and to bathe. 

From Quodshanis everything we possessed was carried off 
and our house destroyed. A few quilts we brought to Dizan ; 
these we could not bring away with us because we had no mules, 
for the Kurds had carried them off, and I think they will now re- 
main for our neighbours (the Kurds). Of clothes to wear we had 
only enough for the road, but not enough for the cold of the 
winter. When we came here, on the road, we saw some women 
who had never known want entirely naked ; we divided our 
clothes among them, giving them just enough to prevent them 
dying of cold. During all these years our state has been, glory to 
God, that only our souls have been chastened, but finally one 
thing has befallen us which we can never forget. I recall the last 
days that I stood in the Church. I had gone down to Dizan 
because Paulus, my brother, was sick and Ishaya* was ill with 
fever in Mar Audishu. It was at the time when the guns of the 
Turks were drawn up before Tkhuma and were moving forward — 
then it was he sickened and died. Mar Shimun had arrived there 
a little before. Romif and Estherf and her children, at that 
very time of great sorrow, when they least wished to leave, had to 
set out, weeping, with their families. Only Mar Shimun with two 
priests and a few men remained in the Church for the funeral 
service, for as quickly as they could they had to place the body of 
Ishaya in the grave and hasten after their families. Going 
quickly on foot they arrived at Darawar, where Malik Ismail 
was. Those little children (God bless them) went on foot, without 
a servant, accompanied by Romi and Esther. That day, if our 
families had delayed in Mar Audishu, they would have been 
prisoners now in Turkey. The day after they left, the Turkish 
army entered the Church, for they knew we were there. But, 
thanks be to God, we had escaped. 

Paulus is better, and now our family is with Mar Shimun in 
Diliman. Up to the present time we have not hired a house, for 
we do not know where we shall settle down . There is a Church here . 

Mr. McDowell came from Urmia to see us and they hope 
to help this people as much as they can with food and clothing. 

Of all the things that were left in our house I am sorrowing 
most of all for my English books that have gone. Those of our 
own language are hidden ; I do not know whether they Avill be 
safe or not. I only left about forty in Dizan. 

* Youngest dearly loved brother to Surma. t Surma's sister. 

J Sister-in-law; her eldest little boy, Theodore, will succeed his 
uncle as Patriarch. 

[39] 



MAR SHIMUN'S SISTER. 



Ill 



40. REFUGEES FROM HAKKIARI : LETTER, DATED DILIMAN, 
1st /14th APRIL, 1916, FROM SURMA, THE SISTER OF MAR 
SHIMUN, TO MRS. D. S. MARGOLIOUTH, OF OXFORD. 

I was very glad to get your sweet letter, for which I was 
longing and looking forward, my dearest friend. I know how 
you loved Ishaya, and he always asked after you. I wonder if 
you ever got his letter that he wrote to you in Syriac. 

I wrote to you while at Quodshanis (before the war) but got 
no answer ; I wondered if you might be aAvay from home. I 
wonder if Mr. Wigram and Mr. Heazell got my letters, written 
since we came to Dihman ; I am afraid you won't get yours, the 
address was incorrect. 

You most kindly asked after Hormizd. I msh we knew his 
fate, dear boy ; we have no news of him since the 20th February 
(5th March), 1915. I asked Mrs. Wigram if she would be able to 
tell us something of him by way of Dr. Wigram's letters ; we are 
most anxiously looking forward to the answer. 

The hospitals which are endowed by great Russia to help the 
sick are a great help. Now the people get nursed well, and, of 
course, the sickness is growing less. But outside the hospitals, 
although they do get help from Russia (recently some clothes, too), 
England and America, still their miseries are great, and their 
living very poor. 

I trust and hope you will read the report recently written 
by Mr. Paul Shimmon. A copy has been sent to Mr. Heazell. 
It is all quite true, and there you will see our nation's wretched- 
ness. Really, Russia couldn't have done more than she has by 
helping with hospitals, money and clothes. 

Now the Russian Government wants us all to go up to Bashkala 
— the people to be provided with oxen and wheat to be able to 
plough land for themselves. Of course, Mar Shimun is quite 
wilUng to make the people do what they are ordered, and what is 
best for them. It really is a very good thing, but I am much 
afraid it won't come to pass, for two reasons — first, the difficulty 
of finding enough oxen and corn, and, secondly, because it is 
getting too late for sowing. Soon after Easter Mar Shimun in- 
tends to go to Khoi and talk the plan over with General 
Tchournazoukov. 

I wanted very much to go to England, but Mrs. Wigram wrote 
to me that my friends didn't think it advisable. I don't under- 
stand well what you say in your letter about directing to me 
through Mr. Shipley. If it is anything to help the poor, it is most 
welcome. 

One can't help longing to read the London Times and the 
Church Times, especially the Bishop of London's sermons. 
What will be the end ? Is the world being refined ? Who will 
endure to the last ? We can only pray for mercy. His wiU be 
done. My heart is yearning to hear that " England has 
conquered " ; pray God it will prove so — although one does 

[40] 



178 



REFUGEES FROM HAKKIARI. 



feel for all the young men's lives, whether friend or foe, no 
difference, and for the world's misery. 

Last October David and I went down to Urmia and stayed with 
dear Mr. Nisan. His house seemed to me quite desolate with no 
Beatrice or her mother, but he was the same, cheering and helping 
others. His daughter-in-law Nanajan is very nice, and, with her 
little dear boy, she will be a comfort for his old age. Samuel 
is still in America ; it is rather hard for the young wife. I have 
twice written to Mr. Nisan to send service books, which he kindly 
sent. We often wonder what our church would have done if it 
were not for Enghsh printing presses ? Nearly all our church 
books are gone. Mar Shimun has consecrated little tablets, and 
nearly every priest in DiUman has one to celebrate on for the 
people ; it is the same in Urmia and Khoi. 

You will like to hear that David, Zaya, Paul and Ishaya 
fought most bravely in Dizan. Twice the Kurds were driven 
away with twelve killed, and the third time Paul and Zaya 
alone with four servants fought against the foe and saved the little 
ammunition they had. I intend to write a report of all that 
happened (what I saw and heard) in the mountains. But really 
I can't, as long as I am with ten children playing in the small 
yard and making as much noise as a herd of the Kurds, poor little 
kids. I don't think you know that David is father of two boys 
and four girls, and Romi is mother of three girls and two boys. 
Are not they old ? The children are as happy as children ought 
to be, only they are disappointed at not having as many new 
clothes as they used to have at home, and especially the boys, for 
they are not going to have any new clothes for Easter as they had 
theirs at Christmas, and now it is the girls' turn for Easter. The 
market is another difficulty for them — seeing new toys and sweets 
(they were free from that in Quodshanis) and with no money 
to buy them. However, they get used to it, poor dears. 

I teach the four boys for two hours a day ; they are promising 
pupils if properly taught. The little girls read their alphabet, too. 

Romi and Esther have suffered very much under the circum- 
stances. It was too much for them, although they have gone 
through it quite bravely, especially Esther, who was wdth child 
all this time, and during the last days of flight was expecting the 
child every hour. However, God was merciful, and the baby girl 
was bom nearly a fortnight after we arrived in Dihman. She 
is baptised Helena. I am rather uneasy about Esther. She 
is very weak, and after Easter she will go to Urmia, both to visit 
her father's house (the Mutran's brother) and see the doctor. 

I can't say it was too much for me ; if it were not for certain 
reasons I should have been -rather enjojdng the struggle between 
the Kurds and Turks and us. Thank God we are very well at 
present, except for being over anxious for our poor nation's misery. 
The Kving here is very hard for us ; we simply have no money for 
our ordinary necessitieSj md at times we have people coming to 

[40] 



MAR SHIMUN'S SISTER. 



179 



our door who can hardly stand on their feet for hunger ; how 
could one turn them away ? 

However, all the world is suffering, and so must we and our 
nation. 

Would you kindly tell Mr. Heazell that Mar Shimun got the 
£50 which he sent. I never wrote to him that the Mutran was 
let free by the Turks and has come to Urmia safely, although 
quite broken and very weak. 

I rather enjoy the plan of going up to Bashkala after we have 
lost our country and home. It will suit us to turn into nomads, 
like the IsraeUtes — Mar Shimun for Moses ; can't make David 
into Aaron, he has no beard, so dear old Peter for Aaron, with his 
white beard ; I suppose I must be Miriam, and we must take a 
tent, too, for celebration, which we will call the " Assyrian 
Tabernacle " ; and very hkely we shall always be having 
skirmishes with the Canaanites to get to our fathers' land. 
Wouldn't you Uke to come and see us, the new IsraeUtes ? 

The houses in Bashkala are all ruined. 

Mar Shimun sends his blessing to you and Professor 
Margoliouth, and we our best regards. 



[40] 



180 



BOHTAN DISTRICT. 



41. the nestorians of the bohtan district* : letter, 
dated salmas, 6th march, 1916, from the rev. e. w. 
Mcdowell, of the urmia mission station, reporting 
information brought by a young man (with whom 
MR. Mcdowell was previously acquainted) who had 

escaped the massacre ; COMMUNICATED BY THE BOARD 
OF FOREIGN MISSIONS OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN 
THE U.S.A. 

There was a general massacre in the Bohtan region, and our 
helpers, preachers, teachers and Bible-Women, with their families, 
fell victims to it among the rest. The man who brought the 
word is known to me personally. This young man tells the story 
of how, by order of the Government, the Kurds and Turkish 
soldiers put the Christians of all those villages, including Djezire, 
to the sword. Among those slain were Kasha (Pastor) Mattai, 
pastor of the church in Hassan ; Kasha Elia, one of our oldest 
and most honoured pastors, recently working as an evangelist ; 
Kasha Sargis, superannuated ; Muallin Mousa, pastor of our 
church in Djezire, and his sixteen-year-old son Philip. There 
are three preachers not heard from, and one of them is probably 
killed, as his village, Monsoria, was put to the sword ; another, 
Rabi Ishak, is possibly alive, as there is a report that his village 
had been preserved by the influence of a Kurdish agha. It is 
to be feared, however, that this agha would not be able to protect 
them for long, as from every source comes the word that the 
Government threatened such friendly Kurds with punishment 
if they did not obey orders. The third man is reported as having 
fled to Mosul. Whether he reached there or not is not known. The 
women and children who escaped death were carried away captive. 
Among these were the families of the above mentioned brethren. 
The wife and two daughters of MualHn Mousa, the daughters of 
Kasha Elia, and Rabi Hatoun, our Bible-Woman, were all school- 
girls in Urmia or Mardin. Kasha Mattai was killed by Kurds in 
the mountain while fleeing. Kasha Elia and Kasha Sargis, with 
other men of the village of Shakh, were killed by Turkish soldiers 
who had been stationed in their village by the Government. 

The three villages of Hassan, Shakh and Monsoria were Pro- 
testant, and it is to be feared that they were wiped out, as were 
all the other Christian villages of the plain. Many of the women 
of Monsoria threw themselves into the river (Tigris) to avoid 
falling into the hands of the Kurds. Mar Yohannan and Mar 
Akha were still safe at the time my informant fled. The terrible 

* Before the War, there were three main gioups of Nestorians in the 
region between Lake Urmia and the Tigris, each group numbering about 
30,000 souls. There were the villagers of the Urmia plain, the mountaineers 
of the Zab, and these other plainsmen in the Bohtan district, round the 
confluence of the Bohtan River and the Tigris. The present docunient 
describes the general massacre of many, or perhaps nearly all, the Nestorians 
of this third group, whose chief settlements were at Djeziret-ibn-Omar 
on the Tigris, Mansouria (Monsoria) and Shakh. 

[41] 



MR. Mcdowell of urmia. 



181 



feature about it was that, after the first slaughter, there were 
Kurds who tried to save some of the Christians aUve, but the 
Government would not permit it. My informant had found 
refuge with an agha and was working for him, when a messengej- 
from the Government came with orders to the Kurds to complete 
the work or be punished. Word was brought to my informant 
in the field, and he with a few others fled to the mountain and 
made their way to Van, and so came here. The villagers of Attil, 
where we had work also, all escaped to Van. Their Kurdish 
agha, who was a warm friend of our preacher and of our work, 
gave them warning that he would not be able to protect them, 
as the massacre was being pressed by the Government. It was 
their pastor who fled to Mosul. His way would take him to 
Djezire and Monsoria, the home of his wife. They may have 
been killed there. There is no word about them. 

This terrible calamity grieves me more than I can tell you. 
And more than those who died, the fate of those carried off 
into captivity weighs upon me. I think of them so often — 
Sarah, Hatoun, Priskilla and little Nellie and others, 3^oung girls 
whom I knew in the home almost Hke my own children. What 
is their condition ? This word of my informant is confirmed by 
a woman of Djezire, who made her escape also to Van and thence 
hither. She tells us that Sarah and her two daughters were 
released and were last seen on the plain beyond Djezire, wandering 
in a destitute condition. 



[41 



182 



SECOND EXODUS FROM URMIA. 



42. SECOND EXODUS FROM URMIA : LETTER DATED TABRIZ, 
20th AUGUST, 1915, FROM MR. HUGO A. MULLER (TREASURER 
OF THE AMERICAN MISSION STATION AT URMIA); COM- 
MUNICATED BY THE BOARD OF FOREIGN MISSIONS OF THE 
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN THE U.S.A. 

On Thursday, the 5th August, the rumour spread that the 
Russian troops were again to be withdrawn from Urmia. This 
very naturally frightened the entire Christian population, and 
on Thursday evening all Christians, except those already on the 
road and those physically unable to be on the road, were in the 
streets of the city and on the roads leading northward from the 
city, waiting for the departure of the foot-soldiers, with whom 
they intended to leave. Knowing the probable fate of any who 
might stay behind, we were, of course, not ready to discourage 
the people from going. Still, we had no official word of the 
anticipated evacuation, and were, therefore, perplexed as to our 
own duty. The breaking up of a good proportion of our 
missionary work, the removal of the bulk of the rehef work to 
a different place, and the uncertainty of America's future 
position all contributed to indicate that a portion at least of the 
Station should move in case of an evacuation. On Friday 
morning we learned that the foot-soldiers had left, and one of 
our men, on visiting the Russian Consul, was told that all who 
were going should be off by 2 p.m. that day. The Station felt 
that its force should be reduced to the minimum, and that at 
least all women and children should leave. Very hasty prepara- 
tions were made. Mr. McDowell, Mr. Labaree and Dr. Packard 
volunteered to stay in Urmia, and all the rest were to leave. 
When we got on the road, however, we found that Mrs. Packard 
and her children and Miss Burgess were not of the party. 
Mrs. Packard had decided to brave the Station vote and stay 
by her husband, and Miss Burgess stayed to be with Mrs. Packard 
and to assist the medical work. The fugitive party, therefore, 
consisted of Dr. Shedd and his two daughters, ^Ir. and Mrs. Allen 
with their two sons and one daughter, Dr. and Mrs. Coan, Mrs. 
Cochran, Miss Lewis, Mss Lamme, IVIiss Schoebel, and Mrs. Miiller 
and myself with our daughter. We went in carriages, using some 
donkeys and horses bought the last two hours before our 
departure. 

At the end of our second day's journey we reached a village, 
Kudchi, where we found perhaps 20,000 or 30,000 Syrian refugees, 
whose further flight had been arrested by the Russian commanding 
officer with the good news that a decisive victory had made the 
evacuation of Urmia unnecessary. All were told to go back. 
Unless the missionaries would return, however, the natives were 
unwilling to trust themselves alone. Nothing was left but for 
some to return, especially since this was requested by the officer 
in command of the troops there. Dr. Shedd and his daughters, 
Mrs. Cochran and Dr. and Mrs. Coan consequently turned back. 

[421 



MR. MULLER. 



183 



This gave the crowd heart and they, too, went back. But the 
tables were soon turned again, and before the foot -sore crowd 
reached the city they were again turned back with the word that 
there was fighting with the Kurds on Mount Seir. The mission- 
aries had reached the city and were there during the fighting on 
Mount Seir. It seemed advisable for them to leave again, as 
conditions were very uncertain, in spite of the fact that the 
Russian Consul with a number of Cossacks had stayed by his 
post during all this time. They, that is Dr. Shedd and his two 
daughters, and Dr. and Mrs. Coan, left for the second time on 
Friday the 13th August. This time Mrs. Cochran stayed behind. 

Meanwhile, those of us who had continued on our journey 
from Kudchi arrived in Tabriz on Friday the 13th August, after 
a journey free from mishaps, but nevertheless wearing for us 
who were still typhoid and typhus convalescents. Every one in 
the party with the exception of Mrs. Allen and the Allen children 
had recently had the fever. 



[42] 



P 



184 



SECOND EXODUS FROM URMIA. 



43. SECOND EXODUS FROM URMIA : NARRATIVE OF A NES- 
TORIAN VICTIM, THE WIFE OF THE REV. DAVID JACOB, OF 
URMIA, PUBLISHED IN THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL ARARAT " 
OF LONDON, JANUARY, 1916. 

As a native of Urmia and myself a refugee who has faUen 
into great trouble, I am writing a few short details about my 
unfortunate nation. For centuries as Christians we have been 
crushed by the enemies that surround us. Our best looking girls 
have been forced to deny their creed ; our men have been killed, 
our homes plundered, and our property has been robbed. 

In all these troubles we lived under the Persian Government, 
and obeyed their rules ; we have never been untrue to them, or 
disobedient. For the past seventy years the only help we have 
had has come through the Enghsh and American ^lissions that 
have been in Urmia. When the Russians arrived at Urmia it 
was a delight to us, we thought our rights would be more clearly 
established ; of course, things were much better than before ; 
all the country was safer than it ever had been. This was like a 
dream for a few years ; all of a sudden, when this terrible war 
began, we felt almost certain that it would harm us, although we 
never dreamed that it would bring us under such a curse. 

In the cold January, when even the beasts do not wish to go 
out from their caves, the people were left homeless, bleeding, 
impoverished and starving. This all happened when the Russian 
forces ^\ithdrew from Urmia ; very many left their beloved and 
comfortable homes, and started with them on an endless journey, 
which caused the death of many dear souls from cold and hunger. 
The rest of the Christians crowded into the American IVIission 
compounds, with nothing left ; here they were fed on a morsel 
of bread which came through the kindness of the Missionaries. 
There is a great deal to teU of the misery of the people during 
the last winter ; it was a hfe too wretched for humanity. Those 
that were used to comfortable beds now slept on the bare ground. 
For five months of captivity we hved expecting death every 
minute, surrounded by sick people who needed help ; our Httle 
children died of measles ; our young and strong ones could not 
stand the ten^ible epidemics of typhoid and typhus, while the 
elderly people could not live such a hard hfe ; they died in the 
first weeks, of dysentery. Now the villages were plundered and 
mostly burned, a good many people killed, and our little girls 
and women wickedly tortured (very many even now have not 
been found ; they were mercilessly carried into captivity) ; through 
all this long time of anxiety and expectation, during which oui- 
time was given to weeping, we prayed that God would once moi e 
save us by sending the Russians to our rescue. 

It was a great relief when we heard that the Russians, for 
their own interests, were coming to Urmia once more. After 
their coming the people were at hberty, and were able to go out 



[43] 



NESTORIAN VICTIM. 



185 



into the country once more. For three months they tried to 
Uve in the villages, though a very poor and wretched life it was, 
with everything gone and most of the buildings burned. In 
these hard times we were thankful to the American ^Missionaries 
and the Russian Consul who helped us in settHng down. Although 
at this time we did not do any evil to our enemies who had treated 
us so unkindly, we heard them say that if once more the Russian 
army should leave Urmia, no Christian would be safe. 

On the 4th August the peasants crowded into the city of 
Urmia ; they had heard indirectlj^ about the armies leaving. 
It was a sight that could not be described. The sick, helpless 
little children were terrified. All night and the next da}' the road 
that led towards the Russian border was full of refugees, although 
the Consul assured us that he would not leave without warning 
us ; but the fear was so great that nothing could keep us back. 

In the first invasion of Urmia* some of those that dwelt 
inside the city gates were in more security than the villagers, 
although they were fined a great deal and suffered many hard- 
ships and losses of property, and there had been deaths in almost 
every home ; but this second attack meant that we must leave 
all and flee. On Friday morning, with sober face and heavy 
heart, I left my dear home. I am grateful to God that until 
now my home had not been robbed, so that it was very hard for 
me to leave its comfort and start out into the world with no hope 
of returning again. With many other comrades in the same 
plight, we began our dreadful journey. For two famihes we had 
a Httle cart in which we put a few necessary coverings, a Kttle 
bread, and my three little children. It was very hard for us to 
leave our property, but Hfe is dearer than aU the riches of the 
world. 

On the way we met aU classes of people, the rich and poor 
were reduced to the same level ; very few had carriages, because 
our neighbours would not hire us any, some had horses and 
donkeys, but the majority had to walk with great bundles on 
their backs. We were quite unused to such a hard journey ; 
some sat on the roadside and wept from sore feet ; it was hard 
to walk in shoes, and without shoes the sun burned them until 
the blood came ; dear, innocent children died on the way ; it 
broke the parents' hearts to part with them ; old and feeble 
men and women were left behind ; Httle unlucky babies were 
born in the sight of the passers-by ; everyone was in need of 
help, but no help could be found. We were hke the IsraeHtes 
scattered in the desert, only they had Moses to conduct them to 
Canaan, while we had no one. 

The first night we were so tired and exhausted that we stopped 
in a place that had very little water, a dry, dusty place ; our bed 
was the ground, our pillow a stone, the sky our quilt. The little 
excited children cried aU night ; large crowds of people were 



*By the Turks and Kurds. 
[43] 



186 SECOND EXODUS FROM URMIA. NESTORIAN VICTIM. 



coming all night ; while some rested and went on, others from 
behind took their place. The next day we were so tired and 
hopeless that we wished we had died at home and had not started 
on such an endless and aimless pilgrimage. 

It broke my heart when I met a little girl ; her feet were sore 
and she could walk no further. She cried, "Oh mother! Oh, 
God! " The mother had a heavy load and could not carry the 
child, the father was killed, they had no friends. I carried the 
Uttle girl on my back for about half-a-mile, but could not any 
further. It was too heart-breaking. Why should innocent 
children suffer so ? 

Our next stop was a better place ; it had splendid, cool water, 
and shade ; but the people were so many that bread was scarce, 
starvation was upon us. A great many were sick by this time and 
could not move. This was a Moslem town ; they did not like 
to have us there, but they could not turn us out on account of 
the Russian soldiers being near. There were Christian villages 
on our way, but by this time they had all been destroyed. Here 
we stopped a few days. We heard that the Cossacks had not 
left Urmia entirely ; they had moved their headquarters a few 
miles, so that we had hope that we would not lose all. From 
here some of us went to Tabriz, which is a larger city, and a little 
safer than other places. Now we are a nation scattered like the 
flock without a shepherd, some living here and some there, a 
miserable existence. Some have gone back to Urmia ; most of 
them have found all their crops gone. If we had not left Urmia 
this second time, our condition would not be so hard as it is now, 
the places near the city having mostly been kept safe by the 
kindness of the Russian Consul, who did not leave Urmia ; but 
in the more distant places the crops and vineyards have all been 
destroyed. We are more than grateful to the Americans, who 
have ransomed our lives from death by the money that has been 
spent for us the last winter. We hope and pray for the victory of 
the Allies, that through their kindness the rest of us might Hve. 
So far one-third of our nation has perished, and even we who 
survive are so broken by the strain we have suffered that some- 
times we are hopeless. Now we are facing a winter of famine 
and wretchedness, homes without bedding and clothes. Of 
course nobody can supply all our needs. In addition to our 
own trouble, our countrymen from Turkey are taking refuge in 
the Urmia district, and their condition is worse than ours. 



[43]. 



VnMiA Dt^TRtCT. REPORT ON RELIEP WORk. 



18^ 



44. URMIA DISTRICT : REPORT ON THE DISTRIBUTION OF RELIEF, 
COVERING THE PERIOD 1st JUNE TO 31st DECEMBER, 1915 ; 
COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR 
ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF. 

At the beginning of June, 1915, when the people emerged 
from our premises emaciated from sickness and malnutrition 
and crushed by the blow that had fallen upon them, they were 
confronted by a seemingly hopeless situation. Practically all 
their household furnishings and food supplies had been plundered ; 
the same was true of their domestic animals, on which they 
depended in large measure for their subsistence. Their houses 
were without any doors and windows, and probably a full third 
of them had been demolished. They were in terror about going 
back to their villages ; they feared their Moslem neighbours, 
who had despoiled them of their property, outraged their wives 
and daughters, and killed many of their relatives ; they feared, 
too, lest the Russian troops might again withdraw and leave 
them to the mercy of their enemies ; and they were anxious lest 
the missionaries who had sheltered them for the previous months 
might forget them when they were out of sight. Everything 
tended to make them cUng to our Mission compounds or their 
vicinity. To permit them to do this was of course out of the 
question. Our efforts, however, to scatter them to their village 
homes formed one of the most pitiful phases of our relief work. 
The people had to go, but as long as they received their bread 
from our yards they would not ; and so we had no choice but to 
cut off the food supply, after giving each family sufficient flour 
to support them a week. At the same time, with the help of the 
newly arrived Russian Consul, pressure was brought to bear upon 
the landlords of the Christian villages to support their tenants 
until harvest. Some of these could not, because they themselves 
had been plundered ; others would not, in spite of Consular 
pressure ; and others promised to give the needed assistance, 
l3ut delayed it from day to day with all the ingenuity of excuse 
for which the Orient is notorious. The result was that our yards 
were thronged daily with hundreds of people clamouring for food. 
To give way would have nullified all our efforts to get the people 
on to their own feet ; and only when it was absolutely clear that 
nothing could be gotten from the landlords of any one village 
did we assume any degree of support for the people of the village. 
Little by httle progress was made, and although the villagers 
were wretchedly miserable, the approaching harvest made sub- 
sistence by their own effort possible, and virtually all food 
distribution ceased for a period of three months. 

There was another form of reUef , however, that was im^Derative. 
In the vast majority of villages there was not a spade to use in 
repairing their houses, in ridding their vineyards of weeds or in 
burying their dead, and there was not a scythe or sickle with 
which to reap their harvest. The best and surest way to help 

[44] 



m 



VUMIA DISTRICT. 



the people was to give them these implements, and so for upwards 
of a month we virtually subsidised all the blacksmiths of the city 
in our endeavour to get these instruments in time for the harvest. 
When we closed this department of our rehef work, we had 
distributed 2,661 scythes and sickles and 1,129 spades at a cost 
of 18,909.90 krans. (The exchange value of a silver kran is 
approximately 4JcZ.) 

By the beginning of August the situation was considerably more 
hopeful. The people with Consular help had succeeded in 
collecting a good deal of their plundered property, including 
bedding, household utensils and a few cattle ; the harvest was 
good, although the acreage was below the average, and the promise 
of the vineyards was excellent. Then fell another blow, what 
seemed an inexplicable Providence. Events in another section 
of the war necessitated orders for a sudden withdrawal of the 
Russian troops, and the evacuation was actually carried out 
with the exception of a small force which remained with the 
Consul on the hills outside the city. With the going of their 
protectors the whole Christian population of the plain, with the 
exception of some 200 sick and aged who again took refuge in 
the Mission yards, fled, some only to the northern edge of the 
plain, but many to Salmas and Khoi and even DjouKa. For- 
tunately it was summer time, but even so the misery was intense, 
and cholera and want and hardship claimed many victims in 
those few weeks. Worse still, much that the people had reclaimed 
of their stolen property and gathered from their fields was taken 
once more by their Moslem neighbours ; and so, after nearly 
a month of miserable hardship and uncertainty, the poor Syrians 
and Armenians returned to their tmce plundered homes. Very 
little relief, however, was given during the next few weeks ; for 
from the fields and vineyards much could still be secured in the 
way of food. 

At this time we calculated that about 10,000 to 15,000 of the 
Christian inhabitants would have to be supported during T the 
winter months, and we were maldng our plans accordingly, when 
a new and overwhelming burden descended upon us. For months 
the Syrians of Kurdistan had been holding their own in their 
mountain fastnesses, hoping for succour from the Russians. 
When this failed and their enemies increased on every hand, 
they had to flee — many, many perishing in the attempt. Some 30,000 
of them arrived at last in Salmas and the neighbourhood in almost 
absolute destitution. A few succeeded in bringing a part of their 
sheep, but most came with nothing, haK-naked, and without 
any means of hvehhood. This army of wretchedness was halted 
by the authorities on the plain of Salmas and on the hills surround- 
ing it, until their location should be determined upon. Mr. 
McDowell of our Relief Committee, who has had years of ex- 
perience among these people, left at once for Salmas and grappled 
with the serious problem of their immediate relief. But for the 

[44] 



REPORT ON RELIEF WORK. 



189 



assistance given by our Committee there, hundreds of them would 
have perished from hunger. As it was, cholera, typhoid and 
pneumonia did their worst among a people wasted by hardship, 
unprotected from the cold and without shelter. Shortly the 
streams of suffering humanity began to pour across the pass that 
separates the Salmas from the Urmia plain, and to scatter 
themselves in the villages of this section. A few weeks before 
we had been wondering how the inhabitants of the plain would 
find shelter for themselves in their half -ruined villages ; but 
from the accompanying statistical report* it will be seen that they 
have made room for nearly 16,000 refugees from other districts. 
For example, the village of Geogtapa has doubled its population, 
having received as many of these guests as it had inhabitants of 
its own. 

About the middle of October we began to take steps in 
preparation for our winter reHef work. The first thing was to 
buy up all supplies of wheat that we could secure while the price 
was low — the lowest for years, for the purchasers were few and 
the owners anxious to turn their crops into cash before any more 
untoward events might transpire. The wheat thus secured was 
stored in different parts of the plain accessible as distributing 
centres. The doing of this required quite a force of rehable 
men, who could act as wheat buyers and weighers. 

The next step was to get accurate hsts of the actually destitute 
in every village. This was no easy task, for many felt themselves 
entitled to assistance who were not wholly destitute, and to 
discover who were really in want, among the hundreds of poverty- 
stricken, plundered inhabitants of each village, required both 
tact and firmness. The task was made doubly hard by the 
constant stream of new arrivals from Salmas. On the basis of 
these hsts tickets were issued for bedding and for food — the two 
most crying needs. 

For bedding it was decided to issue large wool quilts, large 
enough to cover several persons. These we found could be made 
for three or three and a half tomans (125.) per quilt. Under 
the efficient direction of Miss Lewis, and later of Miss Lamme, a 
quilt factory was started, which in time employed over a hundred 
needy women in carding wool and sewing the quilts. This 
factory during its three months' existence consumed over 84,000 
yards of calico, 35,000 pounds of wool, and some 1,500 pounds of 
cotton, and expended over 18,000 tomans ; it taxed the resources 
of the dry goods merchants to supply our demand and it quite 
exhausted the wool suppUes of the city. Our plan was to give 
only one quilt to four persons, famihes of over four to receive two 
or more according to the number of members ; but after the issue 
of tickets we found that we could not possibly supply the need, 
and so regretfully we had to Hmit our giving to one quilt to a 
family. The inadequacy of this relief was seen when we began 

♦Omitted here. 

[441 



190 



URMIA DISTRICT. REPORT ON RELIEF WORK. 



to distribute to the families of mountaineers ; for with them all 
the brothers and their wives and children form one family, and 
it was not uncommon to have families of over 20, one being as 
high as 35. But in spite of their inadequacy, the 5,510 quilts 
issued have saved the hves of many, for Uterally thousands were 
facing the rigours of winter without any bedding whatever. 

Our wheat distribution, too, had to be of the most economical 
nature. We issued what was supposed to be a two months' 
supply at one time, giving a Russian pood and a half per capita 
for this period, that is, about 50 pounds. To the widows and 
orphans and to the new comers from the mountains we gave 
flour instead of wheat, the actual cost of this assistance in food 
at current prices being two and a half shahis per day to a person, 
or between a half -penny and three-farthings. But even with 
this small gratuity, the total amount given of wheat and flour 
was 4,000 poods, or about 140,000 pounds, costing about the 
same as the quilts, that is, about 18,000 tomans. 

With these small gifts to individuals amounting in the 
aggregate to large figures, and with the similar work that has 
been done in Salmas and Khoi, and even for the district of Albek, 
our funds have been exhausted, and we are waiting now to see 
what the generosity of America will do about it. Had it not 
been for this generosity, many would have died of hunger and 
cold the last two months, for, apart from what our Committee 
has done, very little has reached the people from any other source. 
We are grateful indeed to acknowledge the receipt of considerable 
sums from his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury for the 
Syrian refugees from the mountains, but still the largest part has 
come and must come from America. We shall have to look to 
our friends in America for their continued aid, if this unfortunate 
people, the victims of Mohammedan hate, are to be kept this 
winter and estabhshed in their homes once more. 



AZERBAIJAN. MR. M. PHILIPS PRICE. 



191 



45. AZERBAIJAN : STATEMENT, DATED TIFLIS, 22nd FEBRUARY, 
1916, BY MR. M. PHILIPS PRICE, WAR CORRESPONDENT FOR 
VARIOUS BRITISH AND AMERICAN NEWSPAPERS ON THE 
CAUCASIAN FRONT ; COMMUNICATED TO ANEURIN WILLIAMS, 
ESQ., M.P., AND PUBLISHED IN THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL 
" ARARAT," OF LONDON, MARCH, 1916. 

In the October of last year I came to Diliman on the plain of 
Salmas in north-west Persia. I had been in Urmia during 
September and had seen the condition of the Assyrians (mostly 
Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant) in the low country round 
that lake. The American missionaries of Urmia were doing a 
great deal, and on the whole the condition of the country was not 
so very bad. There was housing accommodation and a good 
deal of corn, and it seemed as if the Americans would keep the 
situation in hand. But in Salmas there was a very different 
state of affairs. At the end of September, 25,000 mountain 
Nestorians from the Tkhuma, Baz and Tiari regions, who had 
been fighting with the Kurds all summer and had had to flee for 
lack of ammunition, came pouring into the plain led by their 
Patriarch, Mar Shimun, and began to plant themselves down 
in the orchards and gardens round the villages. All the villages 
of the plain were already occupied, and, as the winter was just 
setting in, their condition without housing, food and clothing was 
desperate. I sent a message to Mr. Shipley, the British Consul 
at Tabriz, teUing him of the situation, and he telegraphed to the 
Archbishop of Canterbury for financial assistance. Meanwhile 
relief committees were organised under the Russian Consul 
Akimovitch, the Armenian Bishop Nerses, who lent funds from 
the Armenians of the Caucasus, and an American Missionary 
from Urmia, Mr. McDowell, with funds from America, and they 
began to organise rehef during November and December. The 
method adopted was to distribute to all the refugees, Armenians 
and Assyrians ahke, a daily allowance of 10 kopecks a day, since 
increased to 15 kopecks, and to distribute warm quilts and coats 
from materials purchased in the bazaars of Dihman and Khoi. 
Some medical detachments of the Russian Red Cross and Soyus 
Gorodof were sent with medical aid to combat typhus and 
dysentery, which was beginning to and still is taking many in 
toll of the refugees. As regards the medical side of the relief, 
I am inclined to doubt the possibility of making effective 
provision under the circumstances. There are not sufficient 
skilled doctors, and it is impossible to get drugs through from 
the Caucasus in sufficient quantity to do much good. 

I did not observe on my return to Salmas after a journey to 
Van in November any real improvement in the health of the 
refugees. Every day a hundred or more Assyrians and Armenians 
were dying in the villages round Dihman, and the same thing 
is going on now. 

It seems to me (and these friends of mine, who have also been 

[45] 



192 



AZERBAIJAN. MR. M. PHILIPS PRICE. 



there and have seen the conditions, agree with me), that it is 
impossible under the circumstances to combat the disease by 
medical assistance. The hardy mountaineers from the head- 
waters of the Great Zab and Tigris can best be helped by giving 
them the means to resist disease. Once disease has hold of them, 
no half measures of medical relief can help. I am therefore 
strongly of opinion that, if more rehef is sent, it should take the 
form of money, which should go to increase the daily allowances 
of the refugees, enabling them to buy for themselves, from the 
Persians of Dihman, food and clothing, which alone will enable 
them to resist disease. 

The position is now as follows. When 1 left Diliman for^Van 
at the end of October, I saw in the regions round Bashkale another 
5,000 or 6,000 Assyrian and a sprinkling of Armenians living in 
caves of the rocks or in the open, and feeding on raw grains of 
wheat, which they were picldng from the ruined corn-fields. 
On my return in January most of these were in Salmas, and so 
I think about 30,000 Assyrian and Armenian refugees are now 
there — that is, after deducting 15 per cent, as loss from disease 
in the last three months. The Russian and American relief 
organisations which are working there of course stand in need 
of more money to carry on their work effectively. In order to 
save the refugees from starving, doles of money must be given 
out to them till next harvest at least. I should certainly think 
that the Americans, whose committee is centred in Tabriz, under 
the American Consul there, are doing the best work with the 
means at their disposal. With the Russian organisation there 
is more delay and greater leakage. Relief is being given im- 
partially by the Americans to Assyrians and Armenians of all 
denominations. This cannot always be guaranteed for the 
Russian organisation. 

I would therefore strongly appeal for further help for the 
distressed refugees of this ancient Assyrian Church, together 
with their brethren of the Armenian Gregorian, Catholic and 
Protestant faiths, and should suggest that it be sent to the British 
Consul at Tabriz to distribute with the American missionaries in 
the form of increased daily allowances for food and clothing. 



[45] 



V. 



THE REFUGEES IN THE CAUCASUS. 

For two months — June and July, 1915 — the Armenians of Van 
enjoyed an autonomous national government under Russian 'pro- 
tection. But in the last days of July the Ottoman armies on this 
front received strong reinforcements ^ and were able once more to 
take the offensive. The Russian troops began to fall back from Van 
on the ZOth July, and practically the entire Armenian population 
of the Vilayet accompanied them in their retirement. 

The retreat was unexpected. The refugees had few conveyances 
a7id hardly any provisions ; and, though their rear was protected 
against the descents of the Kurds by the heroic fighting of the Cossacks 
and the Armenian Volunteers, the suffering and mortality, during 
their flight over almost trackless mountains, was appalling. 

At Etchmiadzin and Erivan, across the Russian frontier, the 
Armenian refugees were joined by the stream of Nestor ian fugitives 
from Urmia, and the total number of Christian exiles in the Caucasus 
rose to over a hundred and eighty thousand. 

The Turks only retained their hold on Van for a few weeks, but 
that was sufficient for their purpose. They^ did what they had done 
at Bitlis, Moush and Sassoun ; and when the Russians returned, 
they found that all the inhabitants who had stayed behind had been 
massacred, and all the towns and villages burnt to the ground, in- 
cluding Van itself. 

As soon as security had been re-established, the refugees began 
to return, slowly, to build up their ruined homes. But the majority 
of them still remained in the Caucasus, where they had 
arrived in utter destitution. The Caucasian Armenians rose 
magnificently to the occasion. The brunt of the relief work fell upon 
them, and their organisation was as admirable as their generosity. 
They were subsequently reinforced by aid from London, Boston, 
and, above all, from Moscow ; but the magnitude of the task was 
overwhelming, and the need continued to be very great. 



194 



Tlin FLIGHT TO THE CAUCASUS. 



46. THE FLIGHT TO THE CAUCASUS : DESPATCHES TO THE 
ARMENIAN JOURNAL "HORIZON" OF TIFLIS, FROM MR. 
SAMPSON AROUTIOUNIAN, PRESIDENT OF THE ARMENIAN 
NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF TIFLIS, WHO WENT IN PERSON 
TO MEET THE REFUGEES. 

(a) Despatch dated Etchmiadzin, 12th August, 1915. 

The road from Igdir to Etchmiadzin (about 30 kilometres) is 
choked with groups of sick and destitute refugees. They have 
now waited there several days exposed to the full heat of the sun, 
although they have passes authorising them to proceed to 
Etchmiadzin. There is urgent need for a special body of workers 
to organise and forward these refugees. 

(b) Despatch dated Etchmiadzin, 13th August, 1915. 

Between the Turkish frontier and Igdir (the first Russian 
village), the whole countryside is filled to overflowing with refugees. 
Further on, between Igdir and Etchmiadzin, all the gardens and 
vineyards are full of them. At Igdir, the first arrival depot, a 
mass of 20,000 has accumulated, and another of 45,000 at Etch- 
miadzin ; from these two centres they are being distributed in 
groups to other districts. At Etchmiadzin a hospital has been 
installed, as well as baths and a hospice for the orphans. Between 
Igdir and the Turkish frontier there are patrols of horsemen 
searching for the children, the sick and other stragglers, and seeing 
to the removal of the corpses. About fifty orphans arrive every 
day at Igdir ; part of them are kept there, the others are sent 
on to Etchmiadzin. 

The refugees from Van and the surrounding country have 
traversed the whole distance on foot. The majority of them are 
sick and starving, having been able to take nothing with them 
at the moment of departure. In the course of their journey they 
have not been attacked except at Bergri-Kala, where a band of 
Kurds cut the defenceless column and headed off about 20,000 
people at the rear end of it, whose fate we do not know. As a 
result of famine and fatigue, a large number of the refugees have 
been more or less severely attacked by various epidemics, especially 
by dysentery. 

The stream flows without ceasing, and it is impossible to 
estimate the numbers with any exactitude. At Igdir, with the 
assistance of Aram, ex-Governor of the province of Van, and other 
representatives of the refugees, we fixed them approximately at 
the following figures : 

Van district, 203,000; Melashkerd, 60,000, not including those 
who reached here at an earher date. The average mortality 
amounts to 15 deaths a day at Igdir, and 40 at Etchmiadzin. 

The care of all these refugees falls upon the Armenian organisa- 
tions, principally upon the Committee of Fraternal Assistance at 
Etchmiadzin and the National Committee. The reUef available 
is utterly inadequate to such boundless misery. The refugees 
need food, medical aid and clothing, especially linen and boots. 

[46] 



MR. SAMPSON AROUTIOUNIAN. 



195 



There is a dearth of travelling kitchens, tents and carts. To stamp 
out the contagious diseases, it is indispensable to instal medical 
stations in all the villages. 

(c) Despatch dated Etchmiadzin, 13th August, 1915. 

Hundreds of thousands of refugees are arriving at Etch- 
miadzin from Turkish Armenia. There seems no end to these 
sohd columns moving forward in a cloud of dust. The majority 
are women and children, barefoot, exhausted and starving. 
Their accounts of the atrocities committed by the Turks and 
Kurds reveal indescribable horrors. The panic which set these 
poor people in flight came upon them absolutely unawares ; 
parents lost their children, and children their parents. A great 
number of these lost children, without food and worn out as they 
were, were unable to keep up and died on the road. Others 
have been "picked up by rescue parties, and there are now at 
Igdir and Etchmiadzin about 500 of these little motherless 
creatures. We make an urgent appeal to all Armenian ladies to 
come to the aid of these abandoned little ones. 

(d) Despatch dated Erivan, 31st August, 1915. 

The stream of refugees still flows, but with a slacker current. 
At the present moment more than 35,000 of them have accumu- 
lated at Etchmiadzin, and 20,000 at Erivan. In spite of all the 
zeal displayed by the Relief Committee of Etchmiadzin, under 
the presidency of the Prelate Bagrad, and by the National Com- 
mittees of Tiflis and Moscow, with their numerous affiliated 
Committees, the situation is extraordinarily harrowing. There 
is an absolute shortage of bread, hot food and medical assistance. 
The majority of the refugees are ill. At Etchmiadzin and Erivan 
several hospitals have been installed, which are providing for 
about 1,500 sick people ; yet there are still great numbers of the 
seriously sick lying out under walls, in open courtyards, or even 
in the streets. They are suffering terribly from dysentery. 
The mortahty is enormous ; the day before yesterday they 
buried 103 people at Etchmiadzin, and yesterday 80. 

At the Etchmiadzin Secondary School, 3,500 children who 
have lost their parents are huddled together. They sleep on the 
floor. Yesterday evening I visited the building ; in the big hall 
I counted 110 babies Ipng on the floor absolutely naked ; some 
of them were sleeping, others were crying. The effect was so 
harrowing that one could not restrain one's tears. The sight was 
too terrible for me to stand, and I fled from this hell. But in 
the courtyard an equally painful scene awaited me. Under the 
walls and in the corners there were refugees lying everywhere. 
One heard the cries of the sick ; here and there one saw corpses. 
In front of the monastery gate I found the lifeless bodies of 
three children. The women of Vaharshapat and other places are 
sewing clothes and preparing bedding material, but such aid is 
quite insufficient. Professor Kishkin, the representative of the 

[46] 



196 



The Flight to the Caucasus. Mr. Sampson Aroutiounian. 



" Homo-Russe Society," has just arrived from Moscow to inspect 
the condition of the refugees and organise all the rehef available. 
He told us that beyond Erivan a supply station has been estab- 
Ushed at Arkhta*, where the refugees are receiving dry bread, and 
still there is not enough of that to go round. Wherever the 
refugees stop, there is sickness, but no medical aid. Professor 
Kishkin gave the necessary orders for the immediate installation 
of properly-equipped medical stations between Etchmiadzin and 
Aghstafa, and has written to the Central Committee at Moscow 
for doctors, travelUng kitchens, clothing, linen, etc. 



* Nijiii Akhti (?). 
[46] 



The Flight to the Caucasus. The "Arev" of Bakou. 



197 



47. THE FLIGHT TO THE CAUCASUS : DESPATCH FROM THE 
SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT OF THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL 
" AREV " OF BAKOU. 

The immense procession, sinking under its agony and fatigue, 
forces itself along and moves forward without respite. The head 
of the column came to a standstill some time ago at Igdir ; reduced 
to utter despair, it is fluctuating aimlessly hither and thither. 
No pen can describe what this tragic procession has endured, or 
what experiences it has lived through, on its interminable road. 
The least detail of them makes the human heart quail, and draws 
an unquenchable stream of bitter tears from one's eyes. In the 
act of writing this, my pen trembles in my hand, and I inscribe 
these hues with my tears. 

Each fraction of the long procession has its individual history, 
its especial pangs. It is impossible to describe or record them all. 
Here is a mother with her six Httle children, one on her back, 
the second clasped to her breast ; the third falls down on the road, 
and cries and wails because it cannot drag itself further. The 
three others begin to wail in sympathy, and the poor mother 
stands stock still, tearless, Uke a statue, utterly powerless to help. 

Here is the road again and a broken cart on it, the sole hope 
of a large family. The sick mother has been laid upon it, as well 
as the children and the provisions. The father, an elderly man, 
gazes in despair at the cart he must abandon. In that moment 
he lived through a whole tragedy. But, come what may, they 
must always move forward. 

And here is another mother, quite young and clad in rags. 
She wraps her dead baby in a shawl, puts it down out of the traffic, 
hugs it for the last time, and goes on her way without looking 
behind her. 

Another scene — a mother once more with little children. She 
was carrying two of them in her arms ; the third was cUnging 
to her skirts, weeping and crying to be taken up in her arms Hke 
the rest. Tears were pouring in streams from the young mother's 
eyes. She made a sudden movement, shook off the child who was 
hanging to her skirts, left it on the road and walked off quickly, 
so as not to see its agony or hear its waiUng. From behind rose 
the cry : " Who has lost her baby ? " The cry reached the 
mother's ears, but she stopped her ears and hurried on. 

Here is a whole group of women with white hair, bent double, 
all of them, and marching in silence and with bowed heads. 
Where are they going ? They do not know. They are going 
wherever the vast procession carries them. 

Oh ! these mothers, the mothers of Armenia — are there any- 
where in the world other mothers who have borne the indescrib- 
able sufferings which have fallen upon them ? 

And so one scene succeeds another, each more fearful than the 
last. Often one closes one's eyes to shut them out. The fact 

[47] 



198 



The Flight to the Caucasus. The "Arev" of Bakou. 



that one is powerless in the face of such suffering prostrates one's 
spirit. The procession moves forward at a surprising pace, under 
the imperious goad of terror. In the rear the Kurds had swarmed 
down from the mountains and opened fire on the column of 
refugees. Strung to the fullest stretch of anguish and terror, 
the procession pushes forward across the lofty mountains and the 
deep valleys, devoured by thirst under a burning sun. There 
are many in that company who curse the day of their birth. 

Now, exhausted by privation and broken by fatigue, the 
procession halts at Igdir, floods the streets, fills every corner, 
and mounts up along the river bank and into the open fields. 



BRTTTSH CONSUL AT BATOUM. 9th DECEMBER, 1915. 199 



48. MEMORANDUM ON THE CONDITION OP ARMENIAN REFUGEES 
IN THE CAUCASUS AND ORPHANS AT VAN ; COMPILED IN THE 
BRITISH FOREIGN OFFICE FROM INFORMATION, DATED 
9th DECEMBER, 1915, WHICH WAS FURNISHED BY MR. 
STEVENS, BRITISH CONSUL AT BATOUM. 

In order to secure reliability in the application of funds col- 
lected in the United Kingdom to the immediate and actual relief 
of Armenian refugees who have sought shelter in the Caucasus, 
it is generally agreed that remittances should be sent to the 
*' Armenian Central Relief Committee for Victims of the War " 
at Tiflis. The President of the Committee is Mr. Sampson Arou- 
tiounian, and the Treasurer Mr. G. M. Zurinov. A Special 
Refugee Committee is working under the segis of this body, and 
is stated to have representatives on the spot attending to the 
immediate needs of the refugees. Apart from this, the Central 
Committee has Branch Committees in all those principal towns 
of Transcaucasia where the Armenian element predominates. 
They are all engaged in collecting for rehef work. 

It is a task of the greatest difficulty, in existing circumstances, 
without visiting the localities where refugees are now concen- 
trated and investigating matters on the spot, to obtain an abso- 
lutely correct description of the extent of the alleged distress 
amongst refugees within the Armenian refugee pale. That 
distress is acute — indeed, very acute — is, however, universally 
admitted. No two opinions differ on this point : suffering 
everywhere, the outlook dark and the need for relief work, and 
above all pecuniary aid, urgent. 

Attention is also called to the urgent necessity for winter 
dwelHngs, fuel, and warm clothing, and to the inadequate staff 
of competent doctors, nurses and assistants to deal with the 
exceptional amount of illness which exists among the refugees ; 
and, in general, to the insufficiency of medicines, medical acces- 
sories, equipment, disinfectants, and every other kind of com- 
modity required for securing a minimum degree of comfort for 
the refugees. 

Sums of Rs. 250,000 (£25,000), Rs. 10,000 (£1,000), and Rs. 700 
(£70) have just been remitted to Bakou, Ehzavetpol, and Igdir, 
respectively, for the maintenance of the refugee lazarettos at 
those places. 

Rs. 25,000 (£2,500) — a donation by a rich Armenian gentleman 
named Mantashev — have recently been spent by the Mayor of 
Tiflis in procuring warm bedding, as for instance mattresses, 
quilts, and pillow cases, which have been sent to Igdir, Delijan, 
Novo-Bayazid and Ehzavetpol for the use of refugees. 

With the available funds at the disposal of the various organisa- 
tions in this country, which are not relatively proportionate to the 
heavy expenditure called forth by the urgent requirements of the 
refugees from Asia Minor, relief work obviously cannot be 

[48] a 



200 



BRITISH CONSUL AT BATOUM. 



undertaken by them in the needed degree, owing to the very con- 
siderable numbers of fugitives who are finding their way to the 
Caucasus from many parts of the Empire, and whose claims on 
the moneys belonging to the Societies are as urgent as those of 
the Armenian refugees. 

The unsatisfactory character of the conditions obtaining in 
regard to the question of reheving the refugees has been recog- 
nised by the various Armenian Refugee Committees in the 
Caucasus, and an Extraordinary Meeting of the Bakou Branch 
was convened quite recently. At this meeting it was decided to 
endeavour to improve rehef work within as short a period as 
possible, and several modifications in the existing system have, 
it appears, been recommended. It is reported that the principal 
feature of the changes that are to take place is the issue of rations, 
which in future are to be partly in kind and partly in the form of 
a cash allowance — the latter at the rate of 20 copecks (about 4d.) 
per adult and 15 copecks (about 3d.) per child per diem. A 
further cash allowance of two roubles per adult per month is to 
be issued for rental. 

Mr. Papadjanov, Member of the Imperial Duma for the 
Armenian constituencies, who is on a special visit to the Caucasus 
for the purpose of gaining a close knowledge of conditions on the 
spot, was present at the above meeting and has been furnished 
with full details in regard to the situation and the working of the 
several Relief Committees. He has since visited the Viceroy 
and is reported to have proceeded to the districts situated within 
the refugee pale. After this visit, he will better be able to form 
an opinion as to the needs of the refugees ; and, before he returns 
to Petrograd, in all probabihty, a conference of delegates of all 
the Armenian Refugee Committees in the Caucasus wiU be held 
at Tiflis for the final discussion of the urgency of the situation. 

The funds at the disposal of the Tiflis Central Committee are 
apparently exhausted, and Rs. 2,000 (£200) have recently been 
advanced by the Tiflis Municipahty to meet the immediate re- 
quirements of the refugees. The Provincial Governor has been 
requested by the Mayor to give his support to the negotiations 
which are in progress for a grant of £1,000 by the State, until 
further funds can be raised for the more urgent needs of the 
refugees. 

Meanwhile, it is reported that the Katholikos has received 
120 bales of warm clothing from America, and Mr. Hatisov, 
Mayor of Tiflis, another II bales of the same kind of wearing 
apparel from London, for distribution among the refugees. 

A large quantity of warm clothing, a portion of which has 
recently been sent from Moscow to the Caucasus and another lot 
prepared by the Ladies' Committee of the Central Refugee Com- 
mittee, has been quite recently forwarded to Djoulfa, Dihman and 
Van for the refugees. Warm clothing for the use of fugitives 

[48] 



9th DECEMBEn, 1915. 



201 



has also been sent, by the Central Committee, to Aghstafa and 
Alexandropol. 

From Van it is announced in the " Kavkazskoye Slovo " 
that only about 1,600 Armenians remain there, but that many 
refugees are returning from the Caucasus. About 4,000 fugitives 
are in the country adjacent to Van. Great difficulty is being 
experienced in procuring bread and meat, and all other com- 
modities required for domestic purposes are unobtainable. Every- 
thing has to be brought from Khoi over very bad roads, the journey 
occupjdng five to six days. Motor traffic on the roads is 
impossible. In view of the deplorable conditions obtaining in 
the town, the estabUshment of a hospital at Van is strongly 
disadvised ; in fact, a measure of the kind is stated to be outside 
the bounds of possibility. In view of the anti-sanitary condition 
at Van, sickness of every kind is prevalent among the orphans of 
massacred Armenians, large numbers of whom have now 
accumulated at Van and in its district. The children are father- 
less and motherless. They are in a terrible condition. Most 
of them are starving, and have become so emaciated that they look 
more like skeletons than human beings. All buildings at Van 
have been destroyed by fire. No places of refuge exist for the 
infants. The Field Lazaretto of a Russian regiment has taken 
some of these orphans under its care and protection, and they 
seek warmth and shelter under the overcoats of the Russian 
soldiers. 

From subsequent reports which have been received, it appears 
that the numbers of refugees from Turkish Asia Minor and the 
Urmia district who have taken refuge in the Caucasus are 
approximately as follows : — 

(a) In the Government of Elizavetpol : — 2,788 men, 
4,031 women and 3,853 children of both sexes, or a total 
of 10,672 souls, of whom only 154 are in the town of the 
same name, the other refugees having found accommodation 
in the villages of the province. 

(b) For the Government of Erivan the approximate 
figures are: — In the town 17,000, at Alexandropol 7,000, 
and in the villages of the province 76,000 refugees, or a total 
of 100,000. 

(c) Besides the above, 29,000 Nestorian Christians and 
Armenians have taken refuge at Russian Djoulfa. They are 
reported to be natives of Salmas and the adjoining districts. 

The total number of Armenian and Nestorian refugees in the 
Caucasus is therefore about 140,000 men, women and children. 
The above figures are, of course, only approximate and subject 
to correction. 

As regards the refugees at Djoulfa, it was decided at a recent 
meeting, at which there was present the Nestorian Patriarch 
Mar Shimun, to open a central hospital for 50 beds at Diliman, 

[48] Q 2 



•2()2 J3RITISH CONSUL AT BATOUM. 9th DECRMBER, J9Bj. 



another for 25 beds at Haftevan, and dispensaries in the neigh- 
bourhood of this latter village. 

A sum of £5,000 had been sent to these refugees by the Viceroy 
of the Caucasus, and was calculated to suffice till the 18th 
December. A further sum of £10,000 a month is required to keep 
the refugees supplied with food, while other needs included £8,500 
for the supply of beds and warm clothing, and £1,500 for the 
equipment and maintenance of the hospitals and dispensaries at 
Dihman and Haftevan. It is feared, however, that the above 
estimates for pressing needs at Djoulfa will have to be largely 
increased in the event of a further influx of refugees from Bashkala, 
an eventuahty which is considered probable. 



[48j 



BRITISH CONSUL A T BA TOUM. 29tli DECEMBER, 1915, 



203 



49. MEMORANDUM ON THE CONDITION OP ARMENIAN REFUGEES 
IN THE CAUCASUS : COMPILED IN THE BRITISH FOREIGN 
OFFICE FROM INFORMATION, DATED 29th DECEMBER, 1915, 
WHICH WAS FURNISHED BY MR. STEVENS, BRITISH CONSUL 
AT BATOUM. 

Although the considerable sums that have recently been finding 
their way to Russia are being applied to the relief of Armenian 
refugees in the Caucasus, and the numerous consignments of 
clothing placed by various organisations at the disposal of the 
Relief Committees are being served out to them, the need of the 
refugees for further urgent help is reported to be still very great. 

Prince Argoudinsky-Dolgoroukov, the Acting Representative 
of the Caucasian Section of the Urban Union, after having visited 
the refugee camps at Bambak and DeUjan, furnishes the following 
report on his tour of inspection : — 

Four thousand refugees are concentrated in the 26 villages 
which he visited in the districts named above, the more wealthy 
villages housing a greater number of fugitives than the less im- 
portant ones. He found that, as a rule, two refugees are quartered 
in each house. In the whole of this district, excepting at 
Karakeliss, the refugees are everywhere gratuitously lodged. 
The same rations are issued to the refugees in all the villages ; 
they consist of one-and-a-half pounds of flour and a cash allowance 
of five copecks (one penny) per diem per person. Children under 
two years old receive no rations or money allowance ; they are, 
however, very few in number. Most of the children coming under 
this denomination have died from hunger, cold and the other 
fearful sufferings to which the refugees have been subjected since 
last summer. 

At Karakeliss all dwellings are in satisfactory condition* 
In some of the villages fuel — mainly wood procured in the neigh- 
bouring forests — is served out to the refugees. In this district 
the latter possess about 1,000 head of cattle. 

The exceedingly well organised Relief Committee of the * 
Karakeliss Brotherhood is very attentive to the needs of the 
refugees. Their registration has been admirably arranged by 
this Committee. Full particulars of the refugees, and the relief 
received, are entered in the register book kept by the Committee. 
The latter has two representatives who periodically visit the 
refugee villages, attend to the issue of rations, and inquire into 
the urgent needs of the refugees and their other requirements. 
The Committee further endeavours to find work for the refugees. 

The Committee has recently prepared two hundred stoves and 
a quantity of warm clothing for the refugees. They are daily 
furnished with boiling water and sugar. An unsatisfactory 
feature of relief work at Karakeliss is the difficulty experienced in 
receiving flour and money from Alexandropol. At times it takes 
twenty days to obtain them. Owing to the short cereal crop of 
1915 in the district, no local flour is procurable ; consequently 

[49] 



204 



BRITISH CONSUL AT BATOUM. 



the refugees frequently remain in a practically starving condition. 
The Prince Argoudinsky was surprised to find that no means had 
yet been devised by which the transport of flour and the trans- 
mission of money over so short a distance could be accelerated. 

The Urban Union maintains a fairly well organised and 
equipped hospital for fifty beds at KarakeHss. This estabUshment, 
however, lacks an operating room, a mortuary and a disinfecting 
camera. 

An orphanage managed by the Petrograd Armenian Com- 
mittee has also been opened at Karakeliss. It accommodates 
170 beds. The premises are good — well kept and clean. The 
children belonging to the orphanage are taught at the Church 
School at Karakeliss. They are all well dressed, but do not get 
sufficient food. This affects their outward appearance, and the 
orphans are consequently pale and somewhat emaciated. Prince 
Argoudinsky was informed that at times some of the children 
would wake up at night and search for remnants of bread left 
about during the day. 

The Tairov Asylum for Orphans, maintained at the personal 
expense of Mrs. U. M. Tairov, impressed the Prince very favour- 
ably. The Orphanage is equipped for 25 orphans belonging to 
soldiers, and for 25 fatherless and motherless refugees. The 
children are well accommodated with plenty of room, in a fine and 
spacious building. They are made to work. They tidy up and 
clean the rooms, wash their own linen, wash up crockery, pans and 
utensils, lay the tables, assist in cooking and perform all other 
domestic work. They are taught to read and write, and also 
various trades. The children sing in Armenian and Russian to 
the accompaniment of a piano. They are well dressed and shod. 
Their robust and healthy appearance testifies to good conditions 
of fife, and also points to the fact that Mrs. Tairov and the whole 
of the personnel of the establishment put a good deal of energy 
into their work, and are much concerned in the welfare of the 
* children. 

The conditions obtaining in the district of Kazakh are not so 
satisfactory as they are at KarakeHss. The need for methodical 
organisation in supervising relief work and introducing a defined 
plan of action is everywhere noticeable. 

About 4,500 refugees are concentrated in this locahty, 
viz. : — 3,145 Armenians, 805 Nestorians and 550 Armenian 
orphans. The latter are accommodated in the Orphanage of 
Deli j an. 

Up to the 23rd November last, the above refugees were 
receiving a cash allowance of 10 copecks (2d.) per person per 
diem. On that date, however, this cash allowance was increased 
to 15 copecks (3d.) a day. Until the 20th November the Urban 
Union maintained feeding stations at the more important refugee 
centres, but, to the great disappointment of the refugees, thes© 
stations were then closed; and victualling w^s taken OY^r by th^ 

m 



29th DECEMBER, 1915. 



205 



police authorities and the village committees, which continue to 
perform these duties. The refugees here receive relief at the rate 
of 1 lb. 32 zol. (about one English lb.) of flour, and a cash 
allowance of 7 copecks (lid.) per diem per person. Fuel is not 
distributed to all the refugees. Some of the latter have had 
warm clothing, supphed by the Armenian Benevolent Society, 
served out to them ; others have been furnished with iron stoves. 

No special committee which could take over the management 
of relief work exists in this district. The Deli j an Committee 
partly performs the duties which would devolve on such a body. 
No properly organised system of administering relief is provided. 
Very few individual refugees are unwilling to find employment. 
The invariable excuse put forward for refusing work is the absence 
of proper clothing for taking on open air work ; also, that no food 
is procurable where work is offering, in consequence of which the 
refugees have to starve. Up to the 2nd December, the refugees 
were supplied with tea and sugar by the Urban Union. For some 
unknown reason, this allowance has recently been discontinued. 

Hospital arrangements are good in this district. The hospital 
is maintained out of funds supplied by the Urban Union. 

The ground floor of a wing of an unoccupied barrack building 
has been adapted to accommodate refugees. The building, 
although spacious, is gloomy and dark, and is exceedingly badly 
ventilated. The upper floor is temporarily occupied by 123 
orphans, who are cared for by the Armenian Central Committee. 
The children go about barefoot. 

At Deli j an four asylums for children exist. Prince 
Argoudinsky was only able to visit one of these estabHshments. 
The one inspected by him is managed by Princess Toumanov, and 
is maintained out of funds furnished by the Armenian Benevolent 
Society. After their dinners, the children go to school. They 
look strong and healthy, and their appearance^^shows care and 
kind treatment in every respect. According to information 
obtained by Prince Argoudinsky, the other three asylums at 
Deli j an are Hkewise well managed and kept. 

The relief extended to the refugees at Deli j an is only of a 
primitive nature ; the same remark cannot, however, be applied 
to the unsatisfactory conditions obtaining in this connection in 
the district of Kazakh. Here the question of housing the refugees 
is one of the most painful features of the relief work undertaken. 
In a large number of villages in this district, the refugees are 
mostly accommodated in derehct sheds and shops — dark, un- 
heated and overcrowded. For some unaccountable reason warm 
clothing has not been issued to them. They do not receiva their 
rations of flour and cash allowances with regularity, and no 
Central Organisation to inquire into their immediate and urgent 
needs exists on the spot. 

The Bakou Refugee Committee has just forwarded several 
further consignments of 10,000 quilts, 12;000 mattresses and sacks, 

[49] 



206 



BRITISH CONSUL AT BATOUM. 



12,000 pillow cases, 600 jackets, 3,000 shirts, 3,000 pairs of drawers ; 
and the Tiflis Committee. 400 quilts, 4,000 mattresses, 4,000 pillow 
cases, 200 jackets, 1,000 shirts and 1,000 pairs of drawers, to the 
Governors of Elizavetpol and Erivan, to be served out to the 
refugees. The latter Committee has also sent several bales of 
clothing to Persia and to Turkish Asia Minor for the refugees, 
but according to the newspapers a large proportion of the fugitives 
are still in utmost poverty — destitute, to a very great extent, of 
the absolute necessities of existence. 

Seventy-six railway truck loads of flour, of which 53 were 
for the needs of the Armenian Refugees in the Government of 
Erivan and 23 for the use of those in the Government of 
EHzavetpol, left Gulevich in the Northern Caucasus a few days 
ago. These trucks, under ordinary conditions, should already 
have reached their respective destinations. 

Owing to anticipated heavy snow drifts at the Akhta Pass 
(Kars-Karakehss direction), the Zemstvo Union gave orders a 
few days ago that all its refugee victuaUing and provisioning 
stations should be moved to Igdir. 

According to information obtained by Mr. Sarebey, the 
Dragoman of the Vice-Consulate at Van, from the Armenian 
Bishop of Erivan and from various other data he has been able 
to procure on the spot, the number of Armenian refugees in the 
Caucasus is 173,038, of whom 105,000 are from the Province of 
Van ; 48,000 from the districts of Alashkerd, Bayazid and Passin ; 
and 20,038 from Moush, Boulanik, &c., &c. 

They are housed as follows : — 
Government of Erivan : — 

Town of Erivan 18,820 

Villages in the neighbourhood of Erivan . . 1 4,680 
Market town of Vaharshapat . . . . 5,360 

Villages of the district of same name . . 22,730 
Town of Nahichevan . . . . . . 271 

District of Nahichevan . . . . . . 468 

Igdir 1,028 

SurmaHn 7,342 

Town of Alexandropol . . . . . . 8,450 

Villages in the neighbourhood of 

Alexandropol . . . . . . . . 14,121 

Sharori . . 268 

Town of Novo-Bayazid . . . . . . 1,164 

Villages of Novo-Bayazid district. . . . 10,336 



Government of Elizavetpol : — 
Town of EHzavetpol 
Villages, district of EHzavetpol 
District of Karabagh 

Carried forward . . 

[491 



12,000 
5,000 
1,000 



105,038 



18,000 
123,038 



29th DECEMBER, 1915. 



207 



Brought forward 

Province of Kars : — 

Town of Kars and adjacent villages 
Karakeliss . . 



26,000 
4,000 



123,038 



30,000 



Government of Tiflis : — 



City of Tiflis 



5,000 
3,000 



Villages of the district of Tiflis 



8,000 



Northern Caucasus (probably the Armenian 
town of Nahichevan-on-Don) 



12,000 



Grand total 



173,038 



The number of refugees in the Caucasus from Khoi and Salmas 
is small, about l^OOO. They are housed principally at Nahichevan 
and a few at Erivan. 

The foregoing figures differ from those obtained from an 
official source, which put the number of refugees in the Caucasus, 
in round figures, at 140,000. The data now procured by Sarebey, 
who is on the spot, originating as they do from Armenian sources 
and being in greater detail, are likely to be more correct than the 
information then furnished. 

Reports received through the newspapers from Colonel 
Termen state that the situation at Van has recently improved. 
It would appear that 6,000 refugees have returned to the town, 
which has been subdivided into four police districts. Strict 
measures to prevent further pillage and destruction of property 
have been introduced at Van. Ordinary necessaries of life are 
procurable, although only in very small quantities. Some 
threshing machines and four or five flour mills have resumed work 
in the district, with the result that several bakeries have reopened. 

All persons, organisations and other bodies in the Caucasus 
and elsewhere that have Armenian orphans from Van and its 
district in their care, have been requested to furnish particulars 
to the Governor of Van in regard to the names, ages, parentage 
and native places of the orphans in their charge. Also, where 
possible, information is asked for as to any property their deceased 
parents may have possessed, in order to enable the authorities 
to institute a search for, and appoint guardians to protect, sucli 
property. 

The spread of disease has been stayed. The town has assumed 
a cleaner and more orderly appearance. In some streets the 
restoration of buildings has been commenced. Ten or twelve 
shops and stores have resumed trade. 

The Armenian newspaper Horizon states that the news from 
Salmas is very unsatisfactory. Bishop Nerses' urgent appeal for 
warm clothing has hitherto remained unheeded. Only a small 
quantity of clothing forwarded by the Tabriz Women's Com- 
mittee has reached him, but the articles sent are like a drop in the 
ocean. The cold is excessive. 



208 



BRITISH CONSUL AT BATOUM. 



50. REPORT ON THE ACTIVITY OF ARMENIAN REFUGEE RELIEF 
ORGANISATIONS IN THE CAUCASUS AND TURKISH ARMENIA ; 
ENCLOSED IN A DESPATCH (NO. 1), DATED BATOUM, 3rd 
JANUARY, 1916, FROM MR. CONSUL STEVENS TO THE BRITISH 
FOREIGN OFFICE. 

The Armenian organisations in the Caucasus which have been 
so active in relieving Christian refugees since the first arrival of 
the latter in this country in the early days of July last, still 
continue their good work. 

The number of victims of the war who took refuge in the 
Caucasus from Turkish Armenia and Persia, in roughly estimated 
figures, is 150,000. The influx of refugees, however, continued 
for some time after July. There is, therefore, good reason to 
believe that the number of refugees who crossed the Russian 
border was in excess of the figures quoted above. 

The refugees for the most part settled in the Government of 
Erivan, and principally at and about the town of Etchmiadzin. 
Housing accommodation for such large numbers could not here 
be provided, and the refugees, in the circumstances, had to be 
accommodated without cover in yards and open spaces, in the 
neighbourhood of the Monastery of Etchmiadzin. 

Daily telegrams from Etchmiadzin to the Principal Relief 
Committee at Tiflis depicted a truly painful situation, and 
reported that from 350 to 400 deaths were daily taking place, 
owing to the destitute and starving conditions that prevailed 
amongst the refugees. 

At this time relief work was in the hands partly of the " Chief 
Caucasian Committee for Succouring Victims of the War," and 
partly in those of the Red Cross Society. Shortly after, several 
other public bodies joined in relief work. 

The combined efforts of these various organisations had little 
effect in improving the situation. The funds at their respective 
disposals were small, and quite out of proportion to the enormous 
numbers of the refugees, whose ranks kept on swelling, especially 
after the heavy fighting that took place last summer on the 
Caucasian front. 

Meanwhile the insanitary condition of the refugees, in view 
of the very hot weather, was daily becoming more and more 
appalling. Dysentery, spotted fever, typhoid, measles, diphtheria, 
and subsequently cholera, all of which were assuming epidemic 
form, were thinning the numbers of the refugees at a very rapid 
rate ; and yet, despite this alarming situation, the funds necessary 
to cope successfully with the deplorable conditions were not 
forthcoming. 

Finally, the Caucasian Section of the All Russia Urban Union, 
after a hurried investigation of matters, prepared a rough estimate 
of the money needed for the immediate relief of the refugees, and 
a grant of Rs, 1,103,250 (£110,325 about) was asked for by the 

[50] 



3rd JANUARY, 1916. 



209 



Section from its Principal Organisation. This money was shortly 
afterwards remitted to the Caucasus, and the urgent needs of the 
hordes of refugees were then and there met. The temporary 
measures of relief adopted gave the Caucasian organisations a 
short time to think matters over, and to decide on further action 
in connection with relief work. 

Accordingly, steps were taken to bring the pressing needs of 
the refugees before the pubhc, and, in response to appeals made 
throughout the Caucasus, in Russia and abroad, moneys were 
collected privately ; the Russian Government contributed 
important sums, and latterly funds have been flowing in from the 
United Kingdom and America. With these moneys relief work 
is being extended on a wider scale, and the requirements of the 
refugees are being more closely attended to ; but the needs of 
the fugitives are still very great, and more and mdre moneys are 
required. 

The necessity for substantial additional sums is, to a great 
extent, due to a new series of tasks the Urban Union has taken 
upon itself to carry out, together with the heavy responsibilities 
it has had to accept in connection with refugee relief work outside 
the confines of the Caucasus. 

A comparatively large number of refugees have latterly been 
returning to their homes, and theDjoulfa-Van and Igdir-Van roads 
have had to be placed under the immediate supervision of the 
Caucasian Section of the Urban Union. A number of kitchen 
and housing stations have had to be opened at various points on 
these two routes, which the Union will have to maintain at its 
own expense for a considerable period, in view of the increasing 
tendency among the refugees to return home, in reliance upon the 
restoration of security in their own country. 

The organisation of the kitchen and housing stations in the 
Djoulfa-Van direction is reported to be proceeding apace under the 
guidance of the Representative of the Caucasian Committee oi 
the Urban Union, and the work is being carried out in complete 
harmony with, and according to the directions and indications 
of, the military authorities. 

The Urban Union has also undertaken to equip and open 
a hospital for 200 beds for refugees at Van, which it will also 
maintain at its own expense. 

The duties of the Urban Union do not end here, for it has been 
called upon by the Viceregal authority to perform many other 
functions connected with refugee relief work ; the difficulties 
they present have to be faced with as much energy and resource 
as all the other duties taken over by this body. 

The following is a list of the medical and kitchen stations 
which have been opened by the Union and are at present serving 
the needs of the refugees in the areas mentioned a^bove 

[50] 



21Q 



BRITISH CONSUL AT BATOIJM. 



I. 

Hospitals. 

1. At points at which the refugees originally settled. 

(a) At Etchmiadzin. — A hospital consisting of several buildings 
belonging to the Monastery and to its Academy, which have been 
temporarily adapted to accommodate 570 beds for patients of 
both sexes and for children. 

A cholera ward, No. 5, in which, owing to the disappearance 
of the disease, no cases are at present under treatment. The 
vacant beds of this ward (70) are now being used for cases of 
spotted fever. 

A flying medical column (consisting of a medical officer, 
his assistant and several competent attendants) has been pro- 
visionally formed to attend to those sick refugees who are within 
the limits of Monastery territory. 

Three miles distant from the Monastery, on the road to the 
railway station of Etchmiadzin, a medical quarantine station 
has been established. At this point healthy refugees are subjected 
to a quarantine of four to five days, before they are allowed 
to proceed to the station for the purpose of entraining en route 
to the Government of Ehzavetpol. On their journey, the refugees 
are accompanied by a medical officer and two professional 
assistants. 

(6) At Igdir. — A hospital, in temporarily occupied buildings, 
accommodating 100 beds ; and, three and a half miles from this 
point, at a village named Plour, a hospital for 50 beds. 

(c) At Erivan. — A hospital, in private houses provisionally 
rented, which provides 200 beds. A quarantine station of a 
temporary type has also' been opened in connection with this 
hospital. Two assistant medical officers are placed in charge 
of the latter establishment, and they accompany refugees by 
rail to their places of settlement in the Government of Eliza vetpol. 

(d) At Alexandropol. — A hospital, in premises rented 
temporarily, accommodating 200 beds to which an isolation 
section has been added. 

Within the Hmits of the district of Elizavetpol several stations 
have been established with assistant medical officers in charge. 

2. Along the refugees' line of advance, 
(a) Nijni-Akhti. — A hospital for 50 beds. 
Assistant medical officers' stations at Elenovka and Tchibouhli. 
(6) Delijan. — A hospital for 50 beds. 

3. In places where refugees have more or less settled, 
(a) NovO'Bayazid (Erivan). — A hospital for 50 beds. 
(h) Annenfeld.^A hospital for 80 beds, 
(c) Kedahek,—h hospital for 50 beds, 

[50] 



r^rd JANUARY. 1916. 



211 



The total number of beds provided — including the 70 belonging 
to the cholera ward at Etchmiadzin— is 1,450. 

Note : Funds furnished by the Urban Union are at present 
being employed for adapting a building — ceded to the 
Military by the Katholikos — to the needs ot the refugees. 

II. 

Kitchen Stations. 
1 . On the railway lines used by refugees. 
At the quarantine station near Etchmiadzin and at the 
stations of AghtaUa and Annenfeld. 

2. On the metalled roads (chaussees) used by refugees. 
At Parakar, Erivan, Novo-Mkolaievka, Ailar, Suhoi Fontan, 
Nijni-Akhti, Elenovka, Tchibouhli, Delijan, Tarsa-Tchai, Karavan- 
sarai and Uzuntal. 

Bread and hot food are served out to the refugees at these 
stations. The refugees are quartered during their stay at these 
points in sheds rented for the purpose which are properly roofed. 

A separate kitchen station has been opened at Djoulfa out of 
funds— Rs. 10,000 (£1,000)— placed by the Urban Union at the 
disposal of Bishop Nerses, for the use of Nestorian refugees. 

III. 

With a view to improving the insanitary conditions obtaining 
i n the refugee settlements, and also the hygiene of the refugees : 

1. Three disinfecting stations have been opened. 

The first of these is now operating at Etchmiadzin. The 
station undertakes to disinfect cemeteries, refuse-dumping 
grounds, hospitals (in the event of infectious disease), and premises 
of every other type, and to operate the disinfecting camera. 

The officials of the station perform their duties under the 
guidance of a sanitary medical officer. 

The second station is at Igdir, and the third at Erivan. 

The duties of the latter two stations are identical with those 
of the first-named station, and each is worked by a similar 
personnel. 

2. Detachment for erecting buildings. 

This detachment has to attend to the building of bath and 
wash (laundry) houses of a provisional type in the refugee settle- 
ments. It consists of a chief, two assistants, an instructor, 
two stove-building masons (petchniks), two fitters, a tin smith, and 
two rough carpenters. 

The detachment has erected a bath-house (Turkish) and 
hiundry at Annenfeld, a similar bath-house at Tchibouhli, and a 
Turkish bath and laundry at Kedabek. 

[50] 



212 



BRriiSn CONSUL A'l BA'iOVM. 



New work of the same description is in immediate prospect 
for the detachment at Dehjan, Elenovka, Nijni-Akhti, Igdir, 
Etchmiadzin and its neighbourhood, and at Alexandropol. The 
detachment has also been ordered to take in hand work connected 
vAih the erection of a series of steam -f or mahne disinfecting 
cameras. A camera of this type is in course of construction at 
Erivan. 

3. Under-garments and warm clothing have been served out 
in various places to the refugees. Wearing apparel, as stated above, 
was purchased at a cost of Rs. 66,000 (£6,600), out of moneys 
contributed by a number of organisations and individuals ; and 
warm clothing costing Rs. 11,996 (£1,200), assigned by the 
Principal Committee of the Urban Union, has also recently been 
distributed to the refugees. 

Apart from the more or less completed organisation of rehef 
work described above, necessity has compelled the Urban Union 
to take over reUef work in Persian territory, and a hospital for 
110 beds is under equipment at Salmas. 

Further duties connected with the rehef of the refugees will 
shortly be taken over by the Urban Union, when it is proposed to 
open small hospitals and dispensaries in all refugee settlements. 

It is estimated that between 11,000 and 12,000 refugees have 
returned to the valley of Alashkerd and to the Vilayet of Van, 
and that from 2,000 to 3,000 refugees belonging to the middle 
classes have settled in the Governments of Tiflis and Bakou. 

The cost to the Union of feeding the refugees is estimated at 
between 18 and 19 copecks (4d.) per head per day. 

The following are the rations issued to the refugees : — 

Bread, 108 lbs Rs. 7-20 

Meat, 20 lbs. . . . . „ 3-00 

Rice, 10 lbs „ 1-20 

Potatoes, onions, salt, pepper „ 0-60 



Rs. 18-08 per 100 



Fuel (wo^d. peat or c;al) .. 1-70 ■ f "f^ P- fi^-' 



or 18-08 copecks 
per head. 



Tea, i lb „ 0-25 

Sugar, 41 lbs. . . . . „ 1-13 

Rental for accommodation . . ,, 1-00 
Administrative expenses .. ,, 2-OOj 
The Government ration is 1 J lbs. per person per day, or an 
allowance in cash, in Heu of rations, at the rate of 15 copecks 
a day or Rs. 4-50 per month. The Government method of sending 
provisions to points of distribution is, however, very erratic. 
Owing to the lack of railway facihties and to delays in remitting 
moneys by the Principal Committee, the refugees dependent on 
rehef from this source have frequently to go without their bread 
for days and at times for weeks. 

The following is a hst of other organisations engaged in relief 
work in this country : — 

The Etchmiadzin Brotherhood ; 
The Tiflis Armenian Central Committee ; 
[50] 



3rd JANUARY, 1916. 



The Moscow Armenian Red Cross Committee ; 
Tlie Russian Red Cross Society ; and 
The Communes of the various villages in which the 
refugees have settled. 

The Etchmiadzin Brotherhood, under the chairmanship of 
the Katholikos, maintains branches of its organisation at Igdir, 
Erivan, Alexandropol, Kars, Nahichevan, Novo-Bayazid, and 
Karakeliss. Relief work was undertaken by the Brotherhood in 
March, 1915. Since that date, apart from the large quantities of 
clothing, medicines and other comforts served out to the refugees, 
a medical detachment has been organised at Igdir, and, in all, 
the Brotherhood has spent Rs. 900,000 (£90,000) in relief work. 
This, in the main, has been obtained by voluntary contribution 
from persons of Armenian nationality all over the world, but 
especially in the Russian Empire (at Petrograd, Moscow, Kharkov, 
&c.). The Brotherhood serves out with punctual regularity 
flour rations, money allowances, and clothing to the refugees. 
It has all along maintained kitchens at Igdir, Etchmiadzin, and 
Alexandropol, as well as hospitals in various places ; has organised 
a proper system of medical aid ; and has opened refugee 
orphanages, schools and workshops for the children. In short, 
the organisation is thorough, and this is one of the most important 
relief societies engaged in work in the Armenian refugee pale. 

The Tiflis Armenian Central Committee has also been 
carrying out reHef work for nearly ten months. This body 
maintains its own hospitals and kitchens, and hitherto has ex- 
pended Rs. 200,000 (£20,000) in connection with the relief of 
Armenian refugees settled in the Government of Erivan. The 
necessary funds are raised by voluntary contributions collected 
from members belonging to Armenian society in the Caucasus. 

The Moscow Armenian Committee of the Red Cross. — The 
relief work of this organisation is confined to the Government of 
Erivan. The Committee commenced operations in April last, 
when four medical and kitchen stations (viz. at Etchmiadzin 
and at the villages of Markar, Ashtarak, and Arzap) were opened. 
A staff consisting of a medical officer, two assistants, and several 
competent attendants and nurses, besides several sanitary 
officers and other employees, is appointed to each of these stations. 
The organisation affords relief when and as urgent occasion 
requires. This Committee has spent Rs. 300,000 (£30,000), 
all of which has been contributed by the Armenian colony at 
Moscow. An orphanage is maintained by the Committee at 
Ashtar, together with a school and workshop. The organisation 
likewise keeps a flour store and stocks of other provisions at the 
last -mentioned place. Refugees are fed by the Society at 
Markar and at eight other villages situate in the valley of 
Alashkerd. The above remarks apply only to the more important 
duties that devolve on the Committee, but it also attends to the 

[50] 



214 



lUUlISH CONSUI. AT HATOl'M 



needs of the refugees in many other ways. A hospital at Arzap 
is also maintained by the Committee. 

In August, 1915, The All Russia Red Cross Society entered 
the field of refugee work by opening a medical observation point 
at Igdir. The staff here consists of a superintendent, a medical 
officer, two assistants, and 19 sanitary officers. In September 
last, alone, this body served out 18,598 dinners and 16,775 portions 
of tea, and rendered medical aid to 4,652 refugees. In October, 
1915, the Red Cross Society daily fed from 850 to 900 refugees 
in the district of Igdir. The stations of this Society are well 
organised, the staffs strictly disciphned, and their work is effected 
with neatness and punctuaUty. The Society maintains a dis- 
pensary and victualhng store at Igdir. The estimated cost of 
the dinners and tea served out to the refugees by the Society is 
between 17 and 18 copecks (3d.) a day per head. 

The Village Communes. — The peasants of each of the villages 
in which refugees have been settled have undertaken to accom- 
modate them, gratuitously, in their houses. In these the refugees 
find warm shelter, and are not infrequently fed as weU out of the 
slender resources at the disposal of their hosts. Whilst seemingly 
unimportant, the relief extended to the refugees by the peasantry 
is of the greatest value. An accurate idea of this benevolence 
can only be formed when all the good deeds of the peasantry are 
taken into consideration. Undoubtedly, this aid reHeves the 
contributory public from responsibifities amounting to several 
hundreds of thousands of roubles. In other words, the charitable 
disposition of the by no means affluent peasant effects an enormous 
saving of money, which under other conditions would have to 
be provided by the various organisations. 

On the recommendation of Prince A. M. Argoudinsky- 
Dolgoroukov, who has recently been on a tour of inspection 
through the refugee districts, it has been decided to improve the 
work of reUef by adopting the following measures : — 

1. That the present accommodation at the hospital at 
Annenfeld be increased by an additional 30 beds. That the 
bath-houses in course of construction at Barsoun and Kedabek 
be forthwith completed, and a bath-house built at Tchardahli. 

2. That a medical officer, two assistant doctors and two nurses, 
as well as another assistant medical officer and three nurses 
for the 30 additional beds, be immediately appointed to the 
hospital at Annenfeld. That all equipment required for the 
additional 30 beds at this hospital, and the necessary under- 
garments and clothing for outgoing patients, be at once supplied. 

3. That should a further evacuation of refugees from Erivan 
to the Government of EHzavetpol be ordered by the authorities, 
additional warm and roofed-in buildings should be rented at 
Annenfeld and Evlakh, and be furnished with some comfort for 
the refugees, even if only of a very primitive nature. 

[50] 



3fd JANUARY, 1916, 



215 



4. That kitchens for refugees on the move be opened at Annen- 
feld, Evlakh, and Elizavetpol. 

5. That small hospitals be opened at the village of Tchaikent 
in the district of Elizavetpol, and one each in the districts of 
Djevanshir and Shousha. 

6. That movable sanitary detachments and kitchens be 
organised in the refugees' districts of settlement. 

7. That permanent dispensing stations be established in the 
colony of Annenfeld and at the railway station of Evlakh. 

8. That the question of the restrictions in force at Elizavetpol 
and on the road leading through Annenfeld regarding the passage 
of refugees, be at once brought before the notice of the competent 
authorities. 

9. That the cash allowance to refugees in the Government of 
EHzavetpol be brought up to 15 copecks per day per head. 

10. That the authorities whom it may concern be requested, 
when settling refugees on new lands, to take into consideration 
the previous conditions of life of such refugees, and allot to those 
coming from highland districts identical localities in this country, 
and vice versa in regard to refugees who have been inhabitants of 
lowland districts. Further, that in defining the number of 
refugees to be temporarily domiciled in villages, the degree of 
prosperity or poverty of the villages be taken into consideration. 

11. That warm clothing, blankets, bast-shoe leather, iron 
stoves, kerosene and (if possible) tea, sugar and soap, if only in 
small quantities, be immediately served out to the refugees. 

12. That the question of the supply of fuel to the refugees be 
brought to the notice of the forestry authorities of the Caucasus. 

13. That the question of the supply of flour to the refugees 
through the Central Organ, and of the accumulation of stocks of 
the same commodity in villages or groups of villages for the 
winter, be forthwith decided. 

14. That local administrative offices be requested to give the 
Committee timely notice of the dates and hours of dispatch of 
trains conveying refugees. 

15. That the Caucasian Principal Committee be requested to 
entrust the Urban Union with the task of feeding refugees on the 
spot. Should this prove impossible, to ask that steps be taken 
to introduce modifications in the present system of distributing 
food. 

16. That a representative of the Committee be appointed to 
each of the localities where refugees have been settled, in order 
that these representatives may communicate to the Committee 
when there is urgent need of relief in any given locality. 



[50] 



216 



REFUGEES IN THE CAUCASUS. 



61. REFUGEES IN THE CAUCASUS : LETTER DATED ERIVAN, 
29th DECEMBER, 1915, FROM REV. S. G. WILSON TO DR. 
SAMUEL T. DUTTON, SECRETARY OF THE AMERICAN 
COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF. 

\A'e have just returned from a tour of some of the Armenian 
villages where refugees are Hving, and are ready to report on 
their condition from personal observation. In this district or 
Governorship of Erivan there are 105,000 Armenian refugees, 
bssides Nestorians and Yezidis. Of these, 18,000 are in the town 
of Erivan ; of these, again, many are scattered in the homes of the 
people and others gathered in large buildings, orphanages, etc. We 
visited the barracks where 420 were living. Room after room 
was full — in some rooms 40, in some half the number. The 
lucky ones were those that had a plank platform or board floor 
on which to sleep and sit. Many of them were in the kitchens 
and store-rooms on the bare ground. Most of them had in- 
sufficient bedding, and many of them scarcely any. Some were 
tying four vinder one coverlet, head to feet. One man told us how 
he sat and shivered in the night till his teeth chattered. Another 
man stayed in bed during the daytime because he had no clothes. 
One room contained, among others, two Protestant families from 
Van ; the fathers had both died lately of disease, the mother of 
one group was lying sick. Seven or eight was the number of 
each household, Ipng in rags on hay and with scarcely enough 
cover for two people. The atmosphere of the rooms was foul 
in the extreme. These people were from the city of Van and had 
lived comfortably. 

The condition in the villages is even worse. At Somaghar, 
15 miles from here, we were taken about by the elder of the 
Protestant Church. Sad indeed were the sights that we saw. 
Some, too, were comforting in a measure. This good man had 
taken into his household, already of sufficient size, two women 
refugees, who were clothed cleanly and neatly and fed as his 
own. Many of the Armenian villagers have taken in and cared 
for the destitute refugees. Others have given them the use of 
their spare rooms, bake-houses, stables and barns. Fortunate 
are those who are in the bake-houses, for the heat in bread baking 
is a free gift to them, albeit mixed with smoke. Fortunate, too, 
those who have stables, for they have steam-heat from the oxen 
and buffaloes ; for those in the other store-rooms and out-houses 
have no stoves or fires. These uplands of Armenia have a severe 
winter. The ground is now covered with snow. Ararat, with 
its two grand peaks, is always in sight, and but a few miles away. 
Cold winds from the Caucasus range blow over the plain. The 
sight of these multitudes with neither clothing for day nor bedding 
for night is a great draft on our sympathies, and this is intensified 
by their pitiful stories. We entered one bake-house. One young 
man appeared among 15 women and children. They had been 
a prosperous patriarchal family of 36 persons — father, three 

[51] 



MR. S. G. WILSON. 



217 



sons and their wives and children. Of these, 21 were killed, 
including all the men except this young fellow, who threw himself 
into the arms of a Kurd and was saved in some freak of mercy. 
This was a Protestant family from a village called Perkhous. 
We saw famihes of 13 and 16 — mothers, daughters, brides and 
children — with no man among them. We asked : " Where are 
your men ? " — " They were all killed ; " or, " Out of 70 men but 
one escaped ; " or, " We were 100 men in the village, but only 
20 escaped ; " or, " There were 450 households in our village, but 
20 or 30 men alone escaped." — " Were the women taken away ? " 
— " Yes, our pretty girls were carried off." — " How many ? " — 
"Four out of nine; we too were stripped naked." As to the 
rest of their sufferings and outrage, they were silent. 

We addressed the one surviving man and asked : " How are 
you here ? " He replied : "I was off as a soldier in the Turkish 
army. I heard of the massacres, and by bye- ways through the 
mountains I returned to find our village destroyed. I escaped to 
Russia and found them here." Another woman, from Ardjish, 
near Van, said : " All our men were collected from the bazaars 
and taken before the Government. After dark, we heard the 
shots which killed them. We fled in the night." 

In the village of Kourjmlou, with 300 houses, there are 900 
refugees. Of these, 300 are from the first exodus of January 
to April, 1915, and 600 from the second in July and August. 
The first were able to bring with them some of their property ; 
many of the men came safely. The second was the terrible 
flight after the massacres ; of these, 40,000 are said to have died 
of disease after reaching Russian territory. The condition of 
the later refugees is most heart-rending. Let me give a few glances 
at conditions in Kourpalou. A woman surrounded by seven or 
eight persons, with scarcely beds for all, and rags as their clothes, 
said : "I escaped by throwing myself in the mud, a dead child 
lying over my head. There were 50 in our household. Nine 
women and boys were taken captive by the Kurds." In a stable 
the oxen and buffaloes were crow^ding up close ; at their side 
a flock of sheep was huddled ; the air was stifling. Three 
families of 18 persons were crowded at one end, in a space so small 
that it seemed impossible for them to lie down. Some had 
improvised a couch in the manger. A hammock for a baby was 
stretched above on two posts. Of these 18, a blind youth was 
the only man. In the bake-house were 27 persons, one youth, 
one very old man. Six men of their household had been taken 
as soldiers, the rest were massacred. Of the 600 refugees of the 
second exodus who are in this village, about 30 are men. Some 
are escaped soldiers who were in the army when the atrocities 
occurred. One had dragged himself out from under a mass of 
dead bodies. 

Nor did aU the women escape death. Women were wantonly 
slain ; those with child ripped up with swords ; the breasts of 

[51] 112 



218 



REFUGEES IN THE CAUCASUS. MR. S. G. WILSON. 



others cut off. Some threw themselves and their children into 
the streams and over the precipices to escape outrage. One 
woman lately arrived who was captured some years ago by a 
Kurd. She had escaped now. after killing the Kurd, and brought 
her two children with her. 

Mouandjik. — Also many refugees. As in all other places, great 
lack of clothing and especially of bedding. Twenty -two persons 
in one room, two of them men. Mostly sleeping on the ground, 
with bedding enough for one-fifth of their number. In another 
room 10 persons, no men, 15 of this connection killed, girls 
carried away, one boy saved by hiding under skirt of mother ; 
clothes in tatters, bedding lacking. 

Veri Ailaulou. — This village of 70 houses is sheltering 370 
refugees, in wretched condition. Three families of 22 persons 
are in one bake-house, one side of which is filled with dried 
manure. Their village in Turkey had 70 men, one escaped alive ; 
4 girls and 3 brides carried off. Another hut contains 4 women 
and some children, the remnant of a family of 24. All the men 
of their village were killed. They are living in a wretched 
condition. Bread and water have been the chief food of these 
refugees for months past. 

We are doing what we can to relieve this distress, supplement- 
ing the work of local and Government committees. Ready-made 
clothing in any large quantity is not to be found, nor blankets. 
Comforters we have purchased in small quantities. We are 
organising some sewing circles and will contract for clothing in 
Tiflis, where we succeeded in buying about 7,000 garments. 
They are hard to find, and transport is difficult when they are 
ready, as the army has the first right to the trucks. 

I have not time to tell you of our reception by the Grand Duke 
Nicolas and his good wishes for the success and progress of our 
relief work, nor of our visit to the Katholikos at Etchmiadzin 
and his warm thanks for the sympathy and help of the American 
people for his people in their distress. We were entertained by 
him over-night. Governors, Bishops and Press have all bidden 
us God-speed. 

Warm clothing and bedding will save many from sickness 
and death. The pitiable condition of these wretched people 
should appeal strongly to our American people in their comfortable 
homes and in the enjoyment of ten thousand blessings. 

After organising relief committees here in several places, one 
or both of us will return to Tiflis for supplies of clothing and 
bedding. 



[51] 



REPATRIATION OF REFUGEES. MR. S. G. WILSON. 219 



62. REPATRIATION OF REFUGEES : LETTER. DATED ERIVAN (?), 
MARCH, 1916, FROM THE REV. S. G. WILSON ; COMMUNICATED 
BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN 
RELIEF. 

Events have moved rapidly since I sent my appeal of the 
18th February. In the intervening month the Russian army has 
made splendid progress and driven the Turks back many miles 
beyond Erzeroum and Van. The capture of Bitlis, Moush and 
Mamahatoun (Derdjan) has given assurance to the Government, 
to the Armenians and to us all. The return of the refugees to 
the Van province has been officially authorized. Men are hasten- 
ing back even while the snow is on the ground. The 12,000 
already there will soon be 20,000 and 30,000. Reports say : 
" Men are going in large numbers." — " Every day caravans of 
those returning to the fatherland enter," via Igdir. Most of 
these have returned from the Erivan province to Van. Others, 
of whom 500 are women, have settled in Alashkerd. Fifty-three 
hundred have gone back from Russian Passin to the Turkish 
province of the same name. The Governor of Kars reports that 
from Olti and that region refugees are returning to the districts 
of Erzeroum, and that many of them are women and children. 
In Bashkala there are nearly 3,000 refugees, said to be in great 
wretchedness and in need of daily sustenance. 

Besides these, numbers are coming forth from their places 
of concealment, or from the houses of certain friendly Kurds, 
or from their captivity in Moslem harems. These are indeed 
but hundreds compared with the thousands who have been 
massacred or driven into the wildernesses. But it is a gratification 
to hear that from Sassoun 160 men came forth; that in Khnyss 
there have appeared more than a thousand new refugees ; that 
in Riza on the Black Sea more than 200 Armenian children were 
discovered after the taking of the town by the Russians ; that 
in Bitlis men, women and children have come forth in large 
numbers (2,800) ; that in Moush nearly 3,000 souls have been 
freed. Erzeroum seems to have been dealt with most savagely. 
Less than 200 Armenians out of 20,000 in the city itself escaped 
death or deportation, that is, exile. Of these, thirty were saved 
in the house of Mr. Stapleton. The Armenians report that when 
the Moslems came and demanded that these girls should be 
delivered over to them, Mr. Stapleton replied : " You must kill 
me before you can touch them." Recent reports say that in 
the villages round Erzeroum Armenian women and children 
are appearing, singly and in groups, and are in the greatest need. 
Whose heart is not moved with pity for and desire to preserve 
these remnants who have escaped from the greatest destruction ! 
Our opportunity is a wonderful one — to save the remnant, to aid 
in the restoration, to prepare for the return of the 200,000 fugitives 
now in Persia and the Caucasus. 



[52] 



220 REPATRIATION OF REFUGEES. MR. S. G. WILSON. 



Our call to help is both general and specific. A specific and 
unusual call has reached us from the Russian Governor of Van, 
Mr. AKred Teremin. 

Now we have telegraphed to the Governor that we are coming, 
as we telegraph to the American Committee of our entrance 
upon the new work. Fortunately we have a considerable balance 
on hand, and we are going in the faith that America will support 
us generously. Large funds will be necessary, to put roofs over 
the heads of the people, to supply seed-corn, ploughs, oxen, carts, 
etc. ; to set at work carpenters, blacksmiths and other artisans ; 
to help the most needy till harvest time. We shall buy the 
necessary things here or in Persia or from the Kurds, and will 
do our part in assisting the returning exiles to cultivate their 
fields, so that harvest may be abundant. Fortunately the time 
of spring sowing in the highlands of Armenia does not close till 
June, so we have yet time. A letter from Van says : " The 
important thing is that material help should be received quickly. 
If delayed, it will lose half its value. It is necessary to hasten. 
Every day is precious." 



[52] ■ 



VI. 



VILAYET OF ERZEROUM. 

The Vilayet of Erzeroitm lies due north of Bitlis and Van, and 
is likewise a border province. It consists principally of the upper 
valleys of the Kara-Su (Western Euphrates) ani the Tchorok. The 
fortress-city of Erzeroum itself is situated in a plain which collects 
the head-ivaters of the former river ; Erzindjan, a place of almost 
equal importance, lies further west, about 120 miles down stream ; 
while Baibourt, in the Tchorok valley, is the most important place 
on the high road from Erzeroum to Trebizond. The districts north 
of the Kara-Su are as civilised as the rest of Anatolia ; but south 
of the river, in the great peninsula enclosed by the two arms of the 
Euphrates, lies the mountain-mass of Dersim, inhabited by wild, 
independent tribes of Kizil-Bashis and Kurds, who played an active 
part in the destruction of their Armenian neighbours. 

In the Vilayet of Erzeroum the deportations began at the end of 
May and during the first days of June. Reports from a particularly 
trustworthy source state that, by the Idth May, more than 15,000 
Armenians had been deported from Erzeroum and the neighbouring 
villages, and that, by the 25th May, the districts of Erzindjan, Keghi 
and Baibourt had also been " devastated by forced emigration.'' 
Our information concerning Erzeroum itself was at first somewhat 
scanty, but since its capture by the Russians it has been visited 
by representatives of various relief organisations in the Caucasus, 
who have obtained circumstantial accounts of what happened in the 
city and the surrounding villages. They report that, out of an 
Armenian population estimated at 400,000* souls for the Vilayets 
of Erzeroum and Bitlis, not more than 8,000 — 10,000 have survived, 
— in other words, that 98 per cent, of the Armenians in these vilayets 
have been either deported or massacred. 

We are also particularly well informed with regard to Baibourt 
and Erzindjan, and the documents in this section may be noted 
as a clear case in ivhich independent testimonies exactly bear one. 
another out. 



* The author of Doc. 57 estimates them at 300.000 only ; but consult 
Annexe D. to the " Historical Summary." 



222 



ERZEROUM. 



53. ERZEROUM : RECORD* OF AN INTERVIEW BETWEEN THE 
REV. H. J. BUXTON AND THE REV. ROBERT STAPLETON, A 
MISSIONARY OF THE AMERICAN BOARD, RESIDENT AT 
ERZEROUM FROM BEFORE THE OUTBREAK OF WAR UNTIL 
AFTER THE CAPTURE OF THE CITY BY THE RUSSIANS.! 

Up to 1914 the population of Erzeroum was between 60,000 
and 70,000, of whom 20,000 were Armenians. 

In 1914 Tahsin Bey was Vali of Erzeroum (whom Mr. H. J. 
Buxton had met, as Vali of Van, in 1913). 

On the outbreak of war with Turkey (November, 1914) 
the British Consul, Mr. Monahan, received his passport ; the 
Russian Consul was ejected ; the French Consul was absent. All 
their servants and interpreters were Armenians ; these were 
ejected likewise, and were sent to Kaisaria as prisoners. The 
three Armenian servants of the Russian Military Attache were 
hanged. The wife of one of these was sitting up, knitting socks 
and putting things together for her husband's depart m^e, when 
news came to her, early in the morning, that he was hanging on 
the scaffold. 

In the spring of 1915 Passelt Pasha was Military Commandant 
of Erzeroum, and he suggested that all Armenian soldiers should 
be disarmed, withdrawn from combatant service and put on road 
gangs (yol tabour). These were men who had been conscripted, 
and, owing to the friendly relations between Turks and Armenians 
in this district (for the past ten years), had joined readily. 

Teachers in the schools were first of all put into hospitals to 
do the work of dressers and nurses among the wounded. They 
were men with a good education, and did their work with inteUi- 
gence. Then came the order that they were to be put on to the 
road gang, and they were replaced by totally incompetent men, 
so the soldiers had very poor attention in the hospital. 

All through this period, up to May, 1915, mihtary service 
could be avoided by men of all races and parties upon payment 
of an exemption tax of £40 (Turkish). 

Even Turks themselves obtained exemption on these terms, 
and for a period (of, say, twelve months) the terms were faithfully 
observed ; but, of course, eventually the need for soldiers made 
the authorities come down even upon exempted persons. In any 
case, this exemption only apphed to mihtary duties, and afforded 
no shelter to Armenians in the final crisis. 

Stapleton managed to get one Armenian exempted b}^ the 
payment of this tax. 

19^;^ Mmj, 1915. 

There was a massacre in the country round Khnyss. As the 
Russians advanced from the east a large number of Kurds fled 

* Undated. 

t Mr. Stapleton 's total period of service at Erzeroum is thirteen years. 
For a letter from Mr. Stapleton himself, see Doc. 149, page 589. — Editor. 

[53] 



MR. STAPLETON. 



223 



in front of them, bent on vengeance, and carried out a raid on 
the peasantry which was quite distinct from the organised 
massacres later on. 

Some of Stapleton's teachers, boy and girl students, were at 
Khnyss on holiday, and perished in this massacre. 

6th Junt. 

The inhabitants of the one hundred villages in the plain of 
Erzeroum were sent away by order of the Government at two 
hours' notice. The number of these must have been between 
10,000 and 15,000. Of this number very few returned, and very 
few reached Erzindjan. A few took refuge with friendly Kurds 
(Kizilbashis), but all the rest must have been killed. 

They were escorted by gendarmes, but the people responsible 
for the massacres would probably be chettis or Hamidia. 

One of the Kurds was charged in court for murder, pillage 
and rapine, and he thereupon produced a paper and laid it before 
them, saying : " These are my orders for doing it." 

It is not certain who gave these orders, but the presumption 
is that they originated with the Government at Constantinople. 

About this time definite orders arrived, by which Tahsin Bey 
was instructed that all Armenians should be killed. Tahsin 
refused to carry this out, and, indeed, all through this time he 
was reluctant to maltreat the Armenians, but was overruled by 
force majeure. 

On the 9th June 

he issued an order that the whole civic population were to leave 
Erzeroum, and many Turks and Greeks actually did leave (the 
latter being hustled out). 

The German Consul was now aware of what was coming, and 
wired protests to his Ambassador ; but he was told to remain 
quiet, as the Germans could not interfere with the internal affairs 
of Turkey. 

This is what he said to Stapleton, and his goodwill is borne 
out by his evident intention to help the Armenians. It is an 
established fact that, in the days following, he used to send 
bread tied up in large sacks to the refugees outside the city, 
conveying these large supplies in motor cars. 

IQth June. 

The first company of Armenian deportees left Erzeroum on 
the 16th June, havring got leave to go to Diyarbekir by Kighi. 
These were forty families in all, mostly belonging to the pros- 
perous business community. 

First of all, after starting, all their money was taken from 
them, " for safety." After a short halt, when some alarm was 
expressed, they were reassured of the complete security of their 
journey, and shortly after resuming their journey (somewhere 
between Kighi and Palu) they were surrounded and a massacre 

[53] 



224 



ERZERO UM. 



took place. Only one man and forty women and children reached 
Harpout. 

Evidence of this massacre comes from various sources : (1) 
letters to Stapleton from women survivors ; (2) evidence of 
Americans who were living in Harpout at the time of the arrival 
of the survivors, and cared for them ; (3) evidence of a Greek, 
who passed the scene of the massacre shortly after it took place 
and described it as sickening. 

19/// June. 

About five hundred Armenian families left Erzeroum, via 
Baibourt, for Erzindjan ; they were allowed time for prepara- 
tions — a concession granted throughout the deportations from 
the town itself. At Baibourt there was a halt, and the first party 
of about 10,000 people w^as joined by later contingents, bringing 
the number up to about 15,000. A guard of gendarmes (up 
to 400) was provided by the Vali, and these doubtless took 
their toll of the Armenians in various ways, licentiously and 
avariciously. 

The Vali went to Erzindjan to see after their security, and it 
is known that about 15,000 reached Erzindjan. Up to this point 
the roads were good enough to allow transport by bullock carts 
(arabas), but after Erzindjan, instead of being allowed to follow 
the carriage road via Sivas, they were turned aside to the route 
via Kamakh, Egin and Arabkir, where there were only footpaths. 
The arabas had, therefore, to be left behind, and no less than 
3,000 vehicles were brought back to Erzeroum by an Armenian in 
the transport service, whom Stapleton met on his return. 

At Kamakh, twelve hours from Erzindjan, it is reported that 
the men were separated and killed, their bodies being thrown 
into the river. Beyond this place letters come from women only, 
though Stapleton's account leads us to suppose that, from among 
thirty families of which he has new^s, ten men survive. Letters 
from women to Stapleton do not, of course, give details of what 
occurred ; they only indicate what happened by such phrases 
as : My husband and boy died on the road." The destinations 
reached by these Armenians, as definitely known to Stapleton in 
January, 1916, were Mosul, on the east ; Rakka, on the south ; 
Aleppo and Aintab, on the west. The need in these places has 
been urgent. German Consuls in Aleppo and Mosul are known 
to have assisted in distributing relief funds sent by Stapleton, per 
the Agricultural Bank at Constantinople, to Mesopotamia — in all 
about £1,000 (Turkish). 

Stapleton had previously been able to distribute a sum of 
about £700 (Turkish), received from America, to poor Armenians 
before their departure. This he did in co-operation w4th the 
Armenian Bishop. 

November, 1915. 

Certain Roman Catholic " lay brothers and sisters " (Arme- 
nians), claiming to be under Austrian protection, were permitted 

[531 



MR. STAPLETON. 



225 



to remain until November, 1915, when they left Erzeroum in 
arabas. They were known to have reached Erzindjan, and 
probably Constantinople, in safety, where they were housed in 
the Austrian schools*. 

From twelve to twenty families of artisans were left to the 
last, as they were doing useful work for the Government. Also 
fifty single masons, who were building a club-house for the 
Turks, being compelled to use gravestones from the Armenians' 
cemetery. 

February, 1916. 

These masons were sent to Erzindjan, where they were 
imprisoned for some days and then brought out and ordered to 
be shot. Four, however, escaped by shamming death, and one 
of them saw Stapleton on the 16th February and gave an account 
of what had happened. 

The fate of the artisans is thought to have been similar, but 
we have no details, except that three families were able to 
return. 

One of those to leave the town in the early days was a photo- 
grapher. He would not wait. Ten hours out from Erzeroum he 
was surrounded by forty chettis, stripped naked and stoned to 
death. They mutilated his body. One child was brained. Of the 
other childi'en, a girl was taken away and only escaped many 
months later when the Russians came. Very reluctantly she 
poured out her story to the Sta^pletons, from which it appeared 
that she had been handed round to ten officers after the murder 
of her husband and his mother, to be their sport. 

Thirty-five families of Greeks remained in Erzeroum until 
near the end. They were then hustled out when the Russian 
approach was imminent, the Turks virtually saying to them : 
*' We are suffering. Why should not you ? " 

These deportations went on in an almost continuous stream 
from the 16th June to the 28th July, when the Armenian Bishop 
left. He is supposed to have been put to death near Erzindjan. 

The part which Stapleton took during these events may now 
be described. In addition to what we have already said about 
his rehef work, he and Mrs. Stapleton sheltered eighteen Armenian 
girls. It was by the permission of the VaU that these were allowed 
to stay with him, and on only one occasion was his house actually 
threatened. This was just on the eve of the Russian arrival, 
when he was warned by the German Consul that a plot had been 
made to burn down his house and, in the subsequent rush of panic, 
to seize the girls. Nothing could have stopped this but the 
Russian entry, which took place on the very day for which it 
was planned. This plot, however, was an isolated act, and, on 
the whole, Stapleton speaks highly of the general conduct of the 
Turks in Erzeroum itself. 

* See^'oc. 62. 
[53] 



226 



ERZERO UM. 



The Last Days. 

On Sunday, the 13th February, the German Consul left. On 
Monday, the 14th February, the Persian Consul was forced to 
go with the Turks to Erzindjan. They maintained that, as he was 
a representative accredited to the Government, he must go with 
them when the Government moved its headquarters. He went 
reluctantly, as he was anxious to look after his fellow-country- 
men. 

On Monday evening (the 14th February) Stapleton was sent 
for by the Vali, and he went, expecting to be told to leave the 
town. The Vali said that he and the Turks were leaving on the 
morrow, but that Stapleton might remain. 

Tahsin Bey requested him to ask the Russian Commander to 
spare the population of the city, as, in general, they had had 
nothing to do with the deportations. 

And that is a fact. 

On the 15th, Stapleton was asked by a deputation of all ranks 
of Turks in the town to go out (three hours' distance) and meet 
the Russian Commander. He refused to go, but he delivered 
Tahsin' s message the following day, when the Russians entered 
the city. 

On the 15th, Turkish troops fired the Armenian episcopal 
residence and the market. They also burned schools and arsenals, 
and looted in the city. 

Wednesday, the I6th February. 

The first Russian to appear was a Cossack with a white apron. 
He was accompanied by Russian and Armenian soldiers, who 
shouted : " We are Armenians. Are there any here ? " Then 
the Cossack came into Stapleton 's house, and wote his name in 
the book as " the first Russian to enter Erzeroum." The house 
was soon filled, and Stapleton lent eight beds to Russian officers, 
and also supplied food. 

When the Grand Duke came, a few days later (the 20th), the 
Russians asked for another bed ; but this was refused. 

Mr. H. J. Buxton asked Stapleton : Was there a good deal 
of looting by the Russians ? " Stapleton said : " No, I should 
not say a good deal of looting. They were very hungry, and the 
stores were all open ; but, for an invading army, they were quite 
mild. For the first twenty-four hours they were very short of 
food." 

Armenian Volunteers began to search the city for Armenians, 
and they did not find very many. Four girls were held by Turks, 
and these, together with the eighteen with Stapleton, made the 
full quota of twenty-two Armenians in the town. 

The appointment by the Russians of an " Old Turk " (a 
former agent of Abd-ul-Hamid at Bukarest, who had subsequently 
been banished by the Young Turks to Erzeroum) is now giving 
considerable satisfaction to the Moslem population. 

[53] 



MR. STAPLETON. 



227 



In August, 1915, the Turkish Government appointed and 
despatched a Commission from Constantinople, ostensibly to 
protect the property of the deported Armenians. During August 
this Commission took possession of, and sold, this property, 
including valuables left with Dr. Case (Stapleton's colleague at 
that period). Stapleton asked the police for their authority, and 
was turned off his own premises by a high-handed secretary. 
However, he wired to his Government, and got the official removed, 
and from that time he was treated with respect and was able 
to exert considerable influence with the Vali ; in fact, he remon- 
strated with him on the brutal treatment of the women at the 
hands of the zaptiehs and Kurds on the road from Erzeroum. 

Stapleton is not a Consul, but a Missionary. To the foreigner 
a " Missionary " always means a Government representative ; 
and as Stapleton was the only American in Erzeroum, he was, 
de facto, Consul. In many ways he was able to do far more than if 
he had been officially a Consul, knowing the ways of the country 
and exactly how far he could go, but yet free from official 
fetters. 



[53] 



228 



ERZEROUM. 



54. ERZEROUM : REPORT, DATED 25th SEPTEMBER, 1915, DRAWN 
UP BY THE AMERICAN CONSUL-GENERAL AT TREBIZOND, 
AFTER HIS RETURN FROM A VISIT TO ERZEROUM ; COM- 
MUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN 
AND SYRIAN RELIEF. 

I left Trebizond on the 12th August on horseback, accompanied 
by kavass Ahmed and a katerdji with my travelHng outfit, also 
two mounted gendarmes furnished by the Governor-General. 
I reached Erzeroum about midnight on the 17th August, and was 
allowed to enter the city gate only after communicating with the 
Commandant. 

I found the two American families well. The Rev. Robert S. 
Stapleton, who is the director of the American Schools and 
Treasurer of the Mission Station, is Hving with his wife and tw^o 
daughters in the upper storey of the Boys' School building. The 
lower part is used as a Red Crescent Hospital for lightly wounded 
or convalescing soldiers, accommodating on an average about 
75 patients. Dr. Case and wife and two small children were 
living in the upper part of the Hospital building, the lower part 
being used as a Red Crescent Hospital for about 30 patients. 
The Girls' School building, with the exception of two rooms 
belonging to the teachers, which are locked up, is also used by 
the Red Crescent for lightly wounded soldiers, accommodating 
on an average about 200. These three fine buildings are on the 
same street, about 100 yards apart. The Red Crescent flag flies 
over the three buildings, and on Fridays and hohdays the Turkish 
flag is also raised over the Girls' School building, which is entirely 
devoted to the Red Crescent work, with the exception of the two 
rooms mentioned above. Over the other two buildings, which 
are partly occupied by the Americans as residences, the American 
flag is hoisted, in addition to the Red Crescent flag, on Sundays 
and holidays, and there seems to be no difficulty raised by the 
authorities now in regard to the flag question. 

I called upon the Governor-General, Tahsin Bey, accompanied 
by the Rev. Mr. Stapleton and Dr. Case, and the Bey received us 
very cordially. He informed me that he had just received a report 
from the military authorities that the Russians, upon evacuating 
Van, had destroyed every building in the city, including the 
American buildings, in order that the Turkish army should not 
find shelter for the winter, and had taken the Americans from Van 
with them on their retirement towards Russia. This information 
I telegraphed to the Embassy on the 18th August as follows : 

" All American buildings reported destroyed by Russians 
upon their withdrawal from Van, and Americans now in Russia." 

He also informed me that all the Americans at BitUs had 
gone to Diyarbekir. 

The Vah said that, in carrying out the orders to expel the 
Armenians from Erzeroum, he had used his best endeavours to 
protect them on the road, and had- given them fifteen days to 

[54] ^ 



U.S. CONSUL-GENERAL AT TREBIZOND. 



229 



dispose of their goods and make arrangements to leave. They 
were not prohibited from selHng or disposing of their property, 
and some famihes went away with five or more ox-carts loaded 
with their household goods and provisions. The Missionaries 
confirm this. 

Over 900 bales of goods of various kinds were deposited by 
150 Armenians in Mr. Stapleton's house for safe keeping. There 
are also about 500 bales in Dr. Case's house and stable. The 
value of the bales is estimated by Mr. Stapleton at from £10,000 
to £15,000 (Turkish). He has a good American combination 
safe belonging to the Mission in his house, and two safes of English 
make left by merchants, which he filled with paper and silver 
roubles and jewellery deposited by Armenians, for safe keeping. 
He gave no receipts and assumed no responsibility, however. 
The gold deposited by Armenians amounted to £5,559 (Turkish), 
and of this amount £5,000 (Turkish) was sent to Mr. Peet through 
the Imperial Ottoman Bank in Erzeroum by telegram. The 
roubles, however, the Bank refused to transfer, and so they 
were left in his safes in the shape received, namely, tied up 
in handkerchiefs or made up in small packages. Afterwards 
these packages were all opened, and an itemized list was made 
of the contents of each package. The paper roubles and jewellery 
were then packed into tin boxes and sealed with the Mission 
seal and deposited in the Imperial Ottoman Bank in Mr. Stapleton's 
name for safe keeping. . . . 

Many policies of insurance in the New York Life Insurance 
Company were found in these packages, upon which a separate 
report will be made. There Avere also deeds to house and lands, 
promissory notes and other valuable papers, which no doubt have 
now lost much of their value. 

The Gregorian Armenian Cathedral and the CathoHc Armenian 
Church at Erzeroum were filled with goods of various kinds which 
had been entrusted to the Imperial Ottoman Bank by the Ar- 
menians before they were deported. These goods were entrusted 
to the Bank, and the keys are in the possession of the Bank. . . . 

The Vali of Erzeroum informed me that he had received instruc- 
tions from Constantinople to allow the Protestants and Catholics to 
remain where they were for the present. One of Mr. Stapleton's 
valuable teachers, Mr. Yeghishe, was taken some time ago for 
military service, and was working upon the roads near Erzeroum. 
Mr. Stapleton needed this man as an interpreter, since he himself 
knows very little Turkish. The Vali promised me he would give 
Mr. Yeghishe a vesika or permit to remain in the city, if his 
military exemption taxes were paid. I attended to this matter, 
and on my way to Trebizond found Mr. Yeghishe at Ilidja, 
three hours from Erzeroum, and delivered to him the vesika, 
which gave him freedom to return to Erzeroum and remain there. 

I also asked for the return of another Protestant teacher who 
was thought to be in Erzindjan, but this the Vah declined to allow, 

[54] 



230 ERZEROUM. U.S. CONSUL-GENERAL AT TREBIZOND. 



saying that the order did not permit their return, but simply 
allowed them to remain where they were. In case they had 
already been sent away he could not recall them. 

Mr. Stapleton has twenty Armenians in his house now ; four 
of them are women and the balance girls. Dr. Case had six 
Armenians in his house when he left Erzeroum. Four of these 
went to Mr. Stapleton, and one he takes with him to Constantin- 
ople, and one he expects to leave at Marsovan for training in the 
Hospital. The Vali granted a special permit for these two girls 
to travel with Dr. Case, and also handed to him a letter of appre- 
ciation for the work he had done in his hospital for Turkish 
officers. 

Mr. Stapleton's relations with the VaU, Tahsin Bey, are good, 
and indeed the latter, who was Mutessarif of Pera a few years 
ago, impressed me as being a very reasonable man, who desired 
to do the right thing and entertain good relations with the 
Americans. . . . 



ERZEROUM. MR. KHOUNOUNTZ. 



55. ERZEROUM : ABSTRACT OF A REPORT BY MR. B. H. 
KHOUNOUNTZ, REPRESENTATIVE OP THE "ALL-RUSSIAN 
URBAN UNION," ON A VISIT TO ERZEROUM AFTER THE 
RUSSIAN OCCUPATION ; PUBLISHED IN THE ARMENIAN 
JOURNAL " HORIZON," OF TIFLIS, 25th FEBRUARY, 1916. 

There are between 80 and 100 Armenians left in Erzeroum — 
according to other reports 130 — and about 25,000 Turks, who 
dare not come out of their houses. The sanitary condition of 
the city is deplorable. Mr. Khounountz had interviews with a 
number of Armenian and foreign eye-witnesses. He met an 
Armenian officer who had escaped from the Turks, who told 
him of the deportation and massacre of the Armenians. He said 
that the attitude of the Turks towards the Armenians was more 
or less good at the beginning of the war, but it was suddenly 
changed after the Turkish defeat at Sari-Kamysh, as they laid 
the bl^me for this defeat upon the Armenians, though he could 
not tell why. 

After that, they separated the Armenian soldiers from the 
Turks as a dangerous element, and removed them from the 
fighting hne. They put them on the roads to work as ordinary 
labourers. 

At the same time terror reigned in the city. Mr. Pasdermad- 
jian, a well-known Armenian, was assassinated, and a number of 
prominent young men Avere hanged or exiled. A number of 
Armenians were forced to go to the cemetery and destroy the 
statue which was erected to the memory of martyred Russian 
soldiers in 1829. They were also forced to open hospitals for the 
wounded Turkish soldiers at their own expense. 

On the 5 /18th April, by an order received from Constantinople, 
the Turks held a big meeting in which the hodjas (religious 
heads) openly preached massacre, casting the responsibility 
for the defeat upon the Armenians. The Armenians appealed 
to them and implored for mercy, but in vain. The Vali was 
rather inclined to spare the Armenians, but the order from 
Constantinople had tied his hands. 

The deportation of all the Armenians in the Vilayet of 
Erzeroum began on the 4th June. It was carried out promptly, 
and took the Armenians by ^ surprise. Gendarmes were sent to 
the Armenian villages at nigkl, who entered the houses, separated 
all the men from their famihes and deported them. The deporta- 
tion of the men of Erzeroum — the city proper — was carried out 
less cruelly, the Vali giving them 15 days' notice. 

But as the refugees were escorted by brutal gendarmes and 
chettis (bands of robbers) many of them were massacred in a 
most cruel manner, and very few of them reached their destina- 
tion, which was the district of Kamakh, west of Erzindjan. 

[55] . S 



232 



ERZEROUM. MR. KHOUNOUNTZ. 



According to the officer, the plan of deportation was exactly 
the same as in other vilayets. None were spared, not even 
certain women teachers — Protestant and Roman Catholic — who 
were foreign subjects and had taught in foreign colleges. 

Only 15 skilled labourers were left, with their families, as they 
were needed for war work. These were massacred before the 
Turks left Erzeroum. 



[56] 



ERZEROUM. DR. M IN A SSI AN. 



233 



56. ERZEROUM : ABSTRACT OF A REPORT BY DR. Y. MINASSIAN, 
WHO ACCOMPANIED MR. KHOUNOUNTZ TO ERZEROUM AS 
REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CAUCASIAN SECTION OF THE 
" ALL-RUSSIAN URBAN UNION " ; PUBLISHED IN THE 
ARMENIAN JOURNAL " MSCHAK," OF TIFLIS, 8th MARCH, 
1916. 

Dr. Minassian gathered his information from the following 
sources : The American Vice-Consul at Erzeroum, Mr. Stapleton ; 
Mrs. Stapleton; Dr. Case of the American Mission Hospital; 
an educated Armenian lady — Zarouhi — from Baibourt, who 
escaped the massacres by a miracle ; an Armenian soldier who 
had accepted Islam ; an old man from Erzeroum ; and many 
others. 

Before Turkey's entry into the war, the Young Turks saw 
that war between them and Russia was inevitable, so they tried 
to win the Armenians over to their side by promising them all 
kinds of privileges. 

As soon as war was declared, they confiscated everything 
from the shops of the Turks, Greeks, Armenians and Syrians, 
without any distinction of race or rehgion. The Armenians lost 
more than the other nationalities, as they were the wealthiest 
commercially. 

The Turks asked the Armenians to join with them, but they 
dechned, saying that if they fought against the Russians they 
would endanger the lives of their brothers in Caucasia. This 
seemed reasonable to the authorities, and on the surface, at least, 
they left the Armenians in peace. 

The Armenians performed their civic duties faithfully and 
opened a hospital for the Turkish wounded ; later on they were 
forced to open others. 

Everything went smoothly until the first Turkish defeat, 
which occurred at Keutag. It was then that the Turks found 
out that the Armenian volunteers were fighting side by side with 
the Russians. This was announced everywhere and excited the 
Turks ; but no steps were taken until it was reported that Garo 
Pasdermadjian, a member of the Ottoman Parhament and one 
of the deputies for Erzeroum, was commanding a body of 
volunteers in the Russian army. The result was that Mr. 
Pasdermadjian's brother was assassinated. Then Djemal Effendi 
from Constantinople, with another Turk, SaifouUah, incited the 
people to massacre the Armenians. 

The Governor saw that the excitement was growing, so he 
called a conference of all the prominent Turks. This was held 
at Pasha-Kiosk, and Djemal and SaifouUah took part. These 
demanded an immediate massacre, but the Governor requested 
them to hold their hand until he could communicate with 
Constantinople about it. 

[56] S 2 



234 



ERZEROUM. 



After this the authorities disarmed and removed all the 
Armenian soldiers from Erzeroum, and put them on the roads to 
work as unskilled labourers. A number of wealthy Armenians 
were forced to destroy the statue which was erected in memory 
of martyred Russian soldiers in 1828, and transfer its stones to 
another place to build a club-house for the Young Turks. Some 
could not stand the hard work, yet could only obtain release 
from it by paying large sums. 

Then the rich Armenians were asked to vacate their homes 
and to transform them into hospitals. This was done willingly, 
and the Armenians undertook to care for the wounded. 

Then an order came to some Armenians to leave their homes 
and go. But they begged to remain, and were allowed to do so 
on payment of £1,500 (Turkish). 

A week later, all the rich and educated men were imprisoned ; 
many of them died in prison under terrible tortures. 

Then it was announced that they would all be deported. 
When the Governor was asked where they would be sent, he 
replied : " To a safe place, where the mob cannot hurt you." 

The Armenians packed all their valuables and left them at 
the American Consulate, the missionary schools, and at the 
Armenian Church. 

To obviate any possibility of resistance, the villagers were first 
deported towards Kamakh, and when the Erzeroum Armenians 
followed them they saw heaps of ruins in place of prosperous 
villages. 

The deportation of the Armenians of Baibourt was more 
terrible. They were all taken by surprise at midnight. 

" Where are you taking us ? " they asked. " To a safe place," 
was the reply, " away from the Turks, where the mob cannot 
massacre you. It is the duty of the Government to protect its 
subjects. You will remain there until peace is re-estabhshed." 

The Armenians believed them and followed the gendarmes 
without resistance. After they had travelled several miles, they 
noticed that the attitude of the guards changed and that they had 
been deceived. By and by they were asked to pay fifty pounds, 
which they paid. Towards nightfall they asked for two girls. 
The next day they asked for five hundred pounds. They had to 
pay that also. That night they asked for five girls and took them. 
Then every day they were robbed. They lost all their valuables 
and provisions. The Turkish villagers stole the best looking 
girls and boys. 

Just before they reached Erzindjan, their outer clothing was 
taken away from them and they were left in their underclothes. 
When they reached Erzindjan they protested to the Kaimakam. 
The Kaimakam promised to accompany them. The next day 
they started for Kamakh. 

After they had travelled a few miles, they were attacked 
})y chettis from all sides. The Armenians wanted to run back 

[56J 



DR. MINASSIAN. 



235 



to Erzindjan, but the gendarmes opened fire on them. Many 
of them were thus massacred, and the remainder were driven 
towards Kamakh. 

It was discovered that these chettis had been organised by 
Djemal Effendi, and it was by deUberate design that all the 
refugees were left in their white underclothes, so that no one 
could run away or hide himself. 

When the refugees reached a gorge of the Euphrates River 
they were attacked again, and many of them were drowned in 
the river. 

Zarouhi — who related the above story — said that the river 
was filled with corpses. She also was thrown into the river, but 
clung to a rock behind some bushes and remained there until 
the gendarmes and chettis had gone away. 

Coming out of the river she met a kind Kurdish shepherd, 
who wrapped her in a blanket and took her to the house of a 
Turk who knew her. The Turk took her to Erzeroum and kept 
her in his home. 

In speaking of the responsibility of the Germans for the 
massacres and deportations, Dr. Minassian says that, before the 
deportation, the Armenians went to the German Consul and asked 
his assistance. His answer was : " I do not want to mix in other 
people's affairs, and I have no authorisation to do so from my 
Ambassador at Constantinople." 

The German officers at Erzeroum helped the Turks to organise 
the deportation, and also took their share of the booty. Almost 
every one of them had kidnapped Armenian girls. 

An officer called Schapner, for instance, took with him four 
girls ; another called Karl, two girls ; and so on — there was a long 
list of names which the reporter could not remember. 



[56] 



236 



ERZEROUM. 



57. ERZEROUM : STATEMENT BY MR. A. S. SAFRASTIAN, DATED 
TIFLIS, 15th MARCH, 1916. 

Since last October, when the Armenian atrocities were dis- 
closed to the world at large, we had hoped against hope that, in 
spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, all that was said 
to have occurred might not be confirmed ; that there might have 
been outlying districts in Turkish Armenia where the local 
Armenians had been spared the horrors that had accompanied 
their destruction in areas situated on the main roads. Un- 
fortunately, now that the entire provinces of Erzeroum and Biths 
have been cleared of the Turk and one is able to see for oneself 
what actually has taken place, one is simply staggered at the 
depth and extent of the great crime, and the unprecedentedly cruel 
means by which the Armenians were cleared out of those two 
provinces, as well as the adjacent districts. 

After seeing something with my own eyes in Erzeroum and 
Van, and compiling the facts about BitUs, Moush and Khnyss 
from Russian official and other sources, my impression is that, 
out of the 250,000 Armenians of the Erzeroum and BitUs Vilayets 
that remained under the dominion of the Turk in April, 1915 
(exclusive of some 50,000 who saved themselves last summer, 
either by fighting their way out or by the advance of the Russians, 
and are now in Trans-Caucasia), only some 10,000 can be 
accounted for since an estimate was made possible by the death- 
blow which the Turks suffered last month. The remaining 
240,000 or so have apparently perished under circumstances of 
the most extreme violence and inhumanity of which any human 
being is capable. 

I am now in a position to state that all the accounts of 
Armenian atrocities which have been published in Europe and 
the United States are not only completely true, but that they 
represent merely such facts as have come under the eyes of 
consular officers or missionaries of neutral states ; whereas the 
most ghastly and heinous crimes have been committed in the 
unfrequented parts of the country, out of sight of any observer. 

The city of Erzeroum, the great military stronghold in Turldsh 
Armenia, contained some 50,000 inhabitants before the war, of 
whom 20,000 were Armenians. The so-called plain of Erzeroum, 
a fertile alluvial plateau extending north-west of the city, con- 
tained some 60 Armenian villages with at least 45,000 inhabitants, 
almost all of them belonging to a sturdy race of peasants. 

As soon as the European war broke out, the Central Committee 
of the Young Turks sent one Boukhar-ed-Din-Shakir-Bey, one of 
the Committee leaders, to Erzeroum, to organise the annihilation 
of the Armenians. Another, Djemal Effendi, a fanatic of the 
foulest type, was sent later on to help him in the work. These 
two Committee stalwarts sent from Constantinople were assisted 
in their fiendish business by two notorious natives — Edib Hodja 
and Djafer Bey. 

[571 



MR. SAFRASTIAN. 



237 



At Erzeroum, as everywhere else, the Armenians in particular 
were ruthlessly robbed of most of the goods they possessed under 
the cloak of mihtary requisitions. The Turkish defeat at 
Sarikamysh in January, 1915, and the exaggerated accounts of 
the part played by Armenian Volunteers in that battle, envenomed 
relations at Erzeroum. A Turkish officer who returned from 
Sarikamysh told the Armenian Bishop Sempad at Erzeroum that 
they chiefly met Armenians on the battlefields : " Many of our 
soldiers were shot by Armenians," he said, " and it was the 
Volunteers who destroyed our villages and scouting parties." 

Subsequently a campaign of slander and provocation was 
started by the Young Turk leaders against the Armenian people. 
Armenian soldiers in the Turkish army were disarmed and sent 
to labour battalions, and further severe measures were taken to 
squeeze every available asset out of the helpless people. A 
great mass meeting was held by the Turks on the 18th April 
just outside the city, in which the Armenians were publicly 
denounced as " traitors " and " dangerous to the Empire " and 
as supporters of the enemies of Turkey. Strict orders were 
issued to all Moslems who were inclined to shield their Armenian 
friends that they would be punished as severely as their proteges 
if they da-red to protect them. 

Fully aware of the fate that awaited them, the Armenians of 
Erzeroum made desperate appeals to Tahsin Bey, the Vali of the 
province, for protection. The latter's reply was that he could 
not defy the instructions sent by the Central Government. The 
answer of Herr Anders, the German Consul at Erzeroum, to whom 
the Armenians appealed again for protection, seems to have been 
still more brutal. He definitely stated that the persecutions 
levelled by the Turkish Government and the mob against the 
Armenians were quite lawful, and that he could not interfere in 
the matter. 

By an exercise of imagination one may perhaps visuahse to 
some extent the anguish and agony those poor Armenians suffered 
during April and May. Trapped on all sides by the ruthless 
enemy and deprived of all means of armed or legal protection, 
they attempted to make the best of an unprecedentedly tragic 
situation. Almost all the intellectual leaders and teachers were 
openly done to death in prison under horrible tortures. Pilos, 
Atrouni and several others have never been heard of since their 
imprisonment. Pasdermadjian, a leading citizen of the town, 
was shot dead in the streets. This reign of terror also prevailed 
in the villages of the plain. 

The capture of Van by the Armenians on the 16th May and 
the entry of the Armenian Volunteers, followed by the Russian 
Army, made a great impression on the Turkish authorities at 
Erzeroum. On the same day, the Armenians of Khnyss and of 
the neighbouring 38 villages were butchered almost to a man, 
and the women and children distributed among the Kurds. 

[S7] 



238 



ERZEROUM. 



During the recent capture of Khnyss by the Russians, some 
3,000 women and children were rescued in and around Khnyss. 
Apparently these represent the remnant of the 22,000 Armenians 
of the Sandjak of Khnyss. 

In the meantime the Russians were advancing towards 
Melazkerd and Biths, and the Turks deported the Armenian 
peasants from Melazkerd and Passin and drove them towards 
Erzeroum. These half -starved peasants, exhausted and harried 
by forced marches, were not allowed to enter Erzeroum ; they 
were kept out in the ram for seven days. Their situation became 
so shocking in May (1915) that even the German Consul was 
moved at the spectacle, and took some clothing and bread in his 
own car to distribute among " these rebellious scoundrels." 
Later on they were driven towards Erzindjan and drowned in 
the Euphrates. 

On the 4th June, the first batch of Armenian peasants from 
the plain of Erzeroum, amounting to some 15,000 persons, were 
forced by the gendarmes to leave their homes and proceed to 
Mamahatoun, west of Erzeroum. They were escorted by chetti 
(Moslem Volunteer) bands consisting of criminals released from 
prison since the proclamation of the Holy War. In the ankle- 
deep mud and along the rugged roads, children and weak Avomen 
fell by the wayside amid the laughter of the chettis. Every 
evening a forced tribute was levied upon the peasants. Gradually 
they were robbed of everything they possessed — money, clothing, 
horses, etc. Girls and women were distributed among the Turks 
as they passed through Turkish villages. A few hours' distance 
beyond Mamahatoun, at the entrance of a valley called the 
Kamakh gorge, this convoy was " ambushed by unknown 
robbers." The signal was given by a revolver shot, whereupon 
a volley of fire was poured upon the Armenians. One of the 
survivors of this batch, a lad of 18 whom I saw in Erzeroum, told 
me that the shrieks and cries of the women and weeping children 
under fire were distracting. Many attempted to escape, but they 
were fired upon by their own escort. In two hours' time the 
valley had become a vast cemetery of unburied human bodies. 
Out of the 15,000 thus disposed of, a few escaped and reached 
Erzeroum in the guise of Turkish peasants. 

On the 18th June it was the turn of the city. A fortnight*s 
time -limit was given to the Armenians for settling their affairs ; 
they packed their property in boxes and bales and stored them 
with Mr. Stapleton, the head of the American Mission, and in 
the Armenian Cathedral. The Governor took £1,000 (Turkish) 
from them in payment for a safe-conduct before their departure. 
A hundred and sixty leading families were selected first for 
deportation. They were all people of means and education. 
The German officers in Erzeroum behaved in an outrageous 
manner towards the Armenian women torn away from their 
men. The Germans, in fact, seem to have set the example of 

[57] 



MR. SAFRASTIAN. 



239 



wrenching women from their homes. One Captain Schapner (?) 
is said to have forced Miss Tchihngarian, a handsome girl, to 
follow him. On her resisting and crying, she was dragged about 
in the streets and roughly handled. This worthy German also 
carried off Mrs. Sarafian, a young woman educated in Switzerland. 
Another German lieutenant, Karl (?), dragged five women to his 
rooms, and so on. 

The convoy of 160 families started out with carriages and 
some luggage, and were sent off in the same direction as their 
predecessors — towards Mamahatoun and Erzindjan. As they 
travelled they were robbed of everything and even stripped of 
their clothing. They are reported as having skirted the town of 
Erzindjan, but beyond that nothing has since been heard of them. 

Bishop Sempad was sent off alone in his own carriage to 
Erzindjan, and never heard of again. 

In the last week of June, several parties of Erzeroum 
Armenians were deported on successive days and most of them 
massacred on the way, either by shooting or drowning. One, 
Madame Zarouhi, an elderly lady of means, who was thrown into 
the Euphrates, saved herself by clinging to a boulder in the 
river. She succeeded in approaching the bank and returned to 
Erzeroum to hide herself in a Turkish friend's house. She told 
Prince Argoutian (Argoutinsky), the representative of the " All- 
Russian Urban Union " in Erzeroum, that she shuddered to recall 
how hundreds of children were bayoneted by the Turks and thrown 
into the Euphrates, and how men and women were stripped 
naked, tied together in hundreds, shot and then hurled into the 
river. In a loop of the river near Erzindjan, she said, the 
thousands of dead bodies created such a barrage that the 
Euphrates changed its course for about a hundred yards. Several 
Armenians of this last party, however, seem to have survived 
this dreadful journey. Recently some of them wrote from 
Rakka, in northern Syria, to Mr. Stapleton imploring money and 
help, as they were in the direst distress. 

After the recent capture of the city by the Russians, there 
were some 100 Armenians altogether in Erzeroum and some 
25,000 Turks. Thirty girls and women were protected by 
Mr. Stapleton in his house. A certain number of women are 
gradually being rescued from the Turks in the city, and perhaps 
thousands more may be saved, if the military authorities take 
the necessary measures and help the Armenians to discover their 
own people. 

Most of the children converted to Islam are quite used to 
Moslem habits ; they speak and behave as if they were Turks 
by birth. They are now changing these habits again in Armenian 
hands. 

When one stood at the gate called Kars Kapou, the eastern 
entrance to the city, and looked at the panorama it presented in 
March, 1916, Erzeroum did not seem to have suffered great 

[57] 



240 



ERZEROUM. MR. SAFRASTIAN. 



changes in its general aspect. But I suffered a rude shock in the 
interior of the city^ when I saw Armenian houses occupied by 
Turks still gloating over their booty, the city deprived of its 
Armenian element, and the dome of the Cathedral broken away 
at its base. 

The Armenians of Erzeroum to whom I have talked here 
about their prospects are consoling themselves — though it is a 
poor consolation — with the thought that thousands of them had 
left the city before the war, and that they mil all return home 
and take possession of their property as soon as the conditions 
there become better defined. 



{57\ 



ERZEROUM. ALI-AGHAZADE FARO. 



241 



58. ERZEROUM : STATEMENT BY THE KURD ALI-AGHAZADE 
FARO, PUBLISHED IN THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL MSCHAK," 
19th DECEMBER, 1915. 

Ali-Aghazade Faro, a Kurd, related to some Armenians of 
St. Garabed, who reached Caucasia as refugees, that he had gone 
to Erzeroum last September to sell sheep, &c., and to get his share 
of the booty from the Armenians if possible. Faro remained in 
Erzeroum for five or six days, during which time he did not see a 
single Armenian. He only saw Turks sitting in the shops of the 
Armenians. When he asked how it was that they were in these 
shops, some answered that they had bought them, while others 
said that they were gifts to them from the Government. 

Faro spent the night in a Turkish house, and asked his host 
what had become of the Armenians. The latter repHed as 
follows : — 

" It was at the end of May when the Governor asked all the 
leaders and prominent Armenians to go to him. He told them 
that they were obliged to abandon the city to the enemy, con- 
sequently the army would retreat from the place. Therefore he 
instructed them to get ready and join him within twenty-four 
hours. They had to get ready, but as all means of transport 
had been requisitioned, they could take practically nothing with 
them. Before the twenty -four hours were up, they all gathered 
near the Government Building without knowing what was 
impending. Several hundred gendarmes surrounded them im- 
mediately and drove them out of the city towards the west. 
They were taken as far as Charuk-Dersim (Doujik). The Kurds 
of Dersim had already received their orders. They attacked 
them and killed every one. Another batch of Armenians was 
deported towards Sivas. They were seen passing through the 
Kamakh Pass, but what happened to them afterwards has never 
been known. A few hundred of their most beautiful girls were 
captured by certain Turks, and the Government was still looking 
for them." 



[58] 



242 



BAIBOURT. 



59. BAIBOURT : NARRATIVE OF AN ARMENIAN LADY DEPORTED 
IN THE THIRD CONVOY ; COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN 
COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF. 

A week before anything was done to Baibourt, the villages 
all round had been emptied and their inhabitants had become 
victims of the gendarmes and marauding bands. Three days 
before the starting of the Armenians from Baibourt, after a week's 
imprisonment, Bishop Anania Hazarabedian was hanged, with 
seven other notables. After these hangings, seven or eight other 
notables were killed in their own houses for refusing to leave the 
city. Seventy or eighty other Armenians, after being beaten 
in prison, were taken to the woods and killed. The Armenian 
population of Baibourt was sent off in three batches ; I was among 
the third batch. My husband died eight years ago, leaving me 
and my eight-year-old daughter and my mother a large property, 
so that we were living in comfort. Since mobihzation began, 
the Ottoman Commandant has been living in my house free of 
rent. He told me not to go, but I felt I must share the fate of 
my people. I took three horses with me, loaded with provisions. 
My daughter had some five-lira pieces round her neck, and I 
carried some twenty liras and four diamond rings on my person. 
All else that we had was left behind. Our party left on the 1st / 
14th June, fifteen gendarmes going with us. The party numbered 
four or five hundred* persons. We had got only two hours 
away from home when bands of villagers and brigands in large 
numbers, with rifles ^ guns, axes, etc., surrounded us on the 
road, and robbed us of all we had. The gendarmes took my 
three horses and sold them to Turkish mouhadjirs, pocketing the 
money. They took my money and the gold pieces from my 
daughter's neck, also all our food. After this they separated the 
men, one by one, and shot them all within six or seven days — 
every male above fifteen years old. By my side were killed two 
priests, one of them over ninety years of age. The brigands 
took all the good-looking women and carried them off on their 
horses. Very many women and girls were thus carried off to the 
mountains, among them my sister, whose one-year-old baby 
they threw away ; a Turk picked it up and carried it off, I know 
not where. My mother walked till she could walk no farther, 
and dropped by the roadside on a mountain top. We found on 
the road many of those who had been deported from Baibourt 
in the previous convoys ; some women were among the killed, 
with their husbands and sons. We also came across some old 
people and little infants still alive but in a pitiful condition, 
having shouted their voices away. We were not allowed to sleep 
at night in the villages, but lay down outside. Under cover of 
the night indescribable deeds were committed by the gendarmes, 
brigands and villagers. Many of us died from hunger and strokes 



♦ " 4000-5000 "—Doc. 2. 
[59] 



ARMENIAN VICTIM. 



243 



of apoplexy. Others were left by the roadside, too feeble 
to go on. 

One morning we saw fifty or sixty wagons with about thirty 
Turkish widows, whose husbands had been killed in the war ; 
and these were going to Constantinople. One of these women 
made a sign to one of the gendarmes to kill a certain Armenian 
whom she pointed out. The gendarmes asked her if she did not 
wish to kill him herself, at which she said " Why not ? " and, 
drawing a revolver from her pocket, shot him dead. Every one 
of these Turkish hanoums had five or six Armenian girls of ten 
or under with her. Boys the Turks never wished to take ; they 
killed them all, of whatever age. These women wanted to take my 
daughter, too, but she would not be separated from me. Finally 
we were both taken into their wagons on our promising to become 
Moslems. As soon as we entered the araba, they began to teach 
us how to be Moslems, and changed our names, calling me X. 
and her Y. 

The worst and most unimaginable horrors were reserved for 
us at the banks of the Euphrates* and in the Erzindjan plain. 
The mutilated bodies of women, girls and Httle children made 
everybody shudder. The brigands were doing all sorts of awful 
deeds to the women and girls that were with us, whose cries 
went up to heaven. At the Euphrates, the brigands and gen- 
darmes threw into the river all the remaining children under 
fifteen years old. Those that could swim were shot down as 
they struggled in the water. 

After seven days we reached Erzindjan. Not an Armenian was 
left alive there. The Turkish women took my daughter and me 
to the bath, and there showed us many other women and girls 
that had accepted Islam. Between there and Enderessi, the fields 
and hillsides were dotted with swollen and blackened corpses that 
filled and fouled the air with their stench. On this road we met 
six women wearing the feradjef and with children in their arms. 
But when the gendarmes lifted their veils, they found that they 
were men in disguise, so they shot them. After thirty- two days' 
journey we reached our destination. 



* i.e., the Kara Su. 
t Moslem veil. 
[59] 



244 



BAIBOURT. THE " HORIZON," OF TIFLIS. 



60. BAIBOURT : STATEMENT , REPRODUCED FROM THE ARMENIAN 
JOURNAL " HORIZON," OF TIFLIS, IN THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL 
" GOTCHNAG " OF NEW YORK, 18th MARCH, 1916. 

On the 15th May, some of the prominent Armenians of 
Baibourt — north-west of Erzeroum — Hadji Simon, Hamazasb, 
Arshag and Drtad Simavonian, Hagop Aghparian, Vagharshag 
Lousigian, Garabed Sarafian, Garabed Duldulian, and the Bishop 
were arrested. They were then taken to a place called " Ourbadji 
Oghlou Dere " and killed. When the Armenians heard of this 
they were terrified, but the Government declared that these were 
traitors, that they had sent money to the enemy and tried to 
persuade the people to revolt — that consequently they were 
punished, but that nothing would happen to the other Armenians. 
They were, in fact, really left in peace for some time, but after 
the retreat from Van Turkish soldiers came and disarmed them. 
They were then deported and massacred. 

Forty armed young men from the village of Lsounk and 20 
from Varvan escaped to the mountains. They were pursued by 
regular soldiers and forced to fight. Both sides lost heavily, 
and finally 12 of the Armenians, by the help of Greek villagers, 
reached Caucasia. 



[60] 



BAIBOURT, KEGHI, AND ERZINDJAN. 



245 



61. BAIBOURT, KEGHI, AND ERZINDJAN : LETTER*, DATED 
ERZEROUM, 25th MAY/7tli JUNE, 1915; COMMUNICATED BY 
THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN 
RELIEF. 

The districts of Erzindjan, Keghi, and Baibourt have been 
devastated by forced emigrations. The Armenian population of 
the city of Erzeroum has also received categoric orders to leave 
the city. They will be deported en masse ; 160 merchants are 
already en route with their famihes. The Government has 
confiscated their goods. We have no information about the 
deported people ; they say they mil be sent to Mosul. 



* Name of author withheld 
[61] 



246 



ERZINDJAN. 



62. ERZINDJAN : STATEMENT BY TWO RED CROSS NURSES OF 
DANISH NATIONALITY, FORMERLY IN THE SERVICE OF THE 
GERMAN MILITARY MISSION AT ERZEROUM*; COMMUNICATED 
BY A SWISS GENTLEMAN OF GENEVA. 

In March, 1915, we learnt through an Armenian doctor, who 
died later on of typhus, that the Turkish Government was pre- 
paring for a massacre on a grand scale. He begged us to find out 
from General Passelt whether the rumour were true. We heard 
afterwards that the General (a gallant officer) had his own fears 

of it, and asked, for that reason, to be relieved of his post 

We fell sick of typhus and .... in consequence of a number of 
changes in the hospital staff .... we were obliged to leave 
Erzeroum. Through the good offices of the German Consul at 
Erzeroum, who also possessed the confidence of the Armenians, 
we were engaged by the Red Cross at Erzindjan, and worked 
there seven weeks. 

At the beginning of June, the head of the Red Cross Mission 
at Erzindjan, Staff-Surgeon A., told us that the Armenians had 
revolted at Van, that measures had been taken against them 
which would be put into general execution, and that the whole 
Armenian population of Erzindjan and the neighbourhood would 
be transported to Mesopotamia, where it would no longer find 
itself in a majority. There was, however, to be no massacre, 
and measures were to be taken to feed the exiles and to secure 
their personal safety by a mihtary escort. Wagons loaded mth 
arms and bombs were reported, he said, to have been discovered 
at Erzindjan, and many arrests were to be made. The Red Cross 
staff were forbidden to have any relations with the exiles, and 
prohibited any excursions on foot or horseback beyond a certain 
radius. 

After that, several days' grace was given to the population 
of Erzindjan for the sale of their property, which was naturally 
realised at ludicrous prices. In the first week of June,t the first 
convoy started ; the rich people were allowed to hire carriages. 
They were to go to Harpout. The three succeeding days, further 
deportations folio wed J ; many children were taken charge of by 
Moslem families ; later on, the authorities decided that these 
children must go into exile as well. 

The families of the Armenians employed in our hospital had 
to go with the rest, including a woman who was ill. A protest 
from Dr. Neukirch, who was attending her, had no effect except 

* They were at work in the German hospital at Erzeroum from October, 
1914, to April, 1915.— Editor. 

t 7th June — Allgememe Missions-ZeiUchrift, November, 1915. 

I Amounting to about 20,000 — 25,000 people in all — Allgemeine Missions- 
Zeitschrift, November, 1915. 

[62] 



DANISH RED CROSS SISTER. 



247 



to postpone her departure two days. A soldier attached to our 
staff as cobbler said to Sister B.*: "I am now forty-six years old, 
and yet I am taken for mihtary service, although I have paid my 
exemption-tax regularly every year. I have never done anything 
against the Government, and now they are taking from me my 
whole family, my seventy-year-old mother, my wife and five 
children, and I do not know where they are going." He was 
especially affected by the thought of his little daughter, a year 
and a half old ; " She is so sweet. She has such pretty eyes ; 
he wept Hke a child. The next day he came back ; "I know the 
truth. They are all dead." And it was only too true. Our Turkish 
cook came to us crying, and told us how the Kurds had attacked 
the unhappy convoy at Kamakh Boghaz|, had pillaged it com- 
pletely, and had killed a great number of the exiles. This must 
have been the 14th June. 

Two young Armenian teachers, educated at the College of 
Harpout, whose lives were spared, related that the convoy 
had been caught under a cross-fire by the Kurds on the flanks 
and the Turkish irregulars in the rear. They had thrown them- 
selves flat on the ground and pretended to be dead ; afterwards 
they succeeded in finding their way back to Erzindjan by cir- 
cuitous paths, bribing some Kurds whom they met on the way. 
One of them had with her her fiance in woman's clothes. He had 
been shielded by a Turkish class-mate. When they reached Er- 
zindjan a gendarme tried to abduct the girl and her fiance inter- 
fered. He was killed, and the girls were carried off to Turkish 
houses, where they were treated kindly but had pressure put upon 
them to change their rehgion. They conveyed this news to us 
through a young doctor who attended some Armenian patients in 
our hospital, and was thereby enabled to get into touch with us ; 
he brought us an appeal from them to take them with us to Har- 
pout. If only they had poison, they said, they would poison 
themselves. They had no information whatever as to the fate 
of their companions. 

The day after, J Friday, the 11th June, a party of regular 
troops (belonging to the 86th Cavalry Brigade) were sent out 
" to keep the Kurds in order." 

We heard subsequently from these soldiers how the defenceless 
Armenians had been massacred to the last one. The butchery had 

* One of the two authors of the present statement, which has been 
drafted in the first person by the other witness, but represents the 
experiences of both. The Editor is in possession of the drafter's name, 
but does not know the identity of Sister B., Dr. A., or Mr. G. — Editor. 

t A defile, 12 hours' journey from Erzindjan, where the Euphrates flows 
through a narrow gorge between two walls of rock. 

I i.e., after the departure of the last convoy of exiles from Erzindjan 
(10th June), not after the narrators were informed of the massacre by their 
cook and by the two Armenian girls. The passages about the cobbler, 
the cook, and the two girls are evidently in parenthesis, and interrupt the 
sequence of the narrative. — Editor. 

[62] T 



248 



ERZINDJAN. 



taken four hours. The women threw themselves on their knees, 
they had thrown their children into the Euphrates, and so on.* 
It was horrible," said a nice-looking young soldier ; "I could not 
fire, I only pretended." For that matter, we have often heard 
Turks express their disapproval and their pity. The soldiers 
told us that there were ox-carts all ready to carry the corpses 
to the river and remove every trace of the massacre. f 

Next day there was a regular battue through the cornfields. 
(The com was then standing, and many Armenians had hidden 
in it.) 

From that time on, convoys of exiles were continually arriving, 
all on their way to the slaughter ; we have no doubt about their 
fate, after the unanimous testimony which we have received from 
many different quarters. Later, our Greek driver told us that 
the victims had their hands tied behind their backs, and were 
thrown down from the cliffs into the river. This method was 
employed when the numbers were too great to dispose of them in 
any other fashion. It was also easier work for the murderers. 
Sister B. and I, of course, began at once to think what we could 
do, and we decided to travel with one of these convoys to Harpout. 
We did not know yet that the massacre on the road had been 
ordered by the Government, and we also thought that we could 
check the brutality of the gendarmes and stave off the assaults of 
the Kurds, since we speak Kurdish and have some influence over 
the tribesmen. 

We then telegraphed to the Consul at Erzeroum, teUing him 
that we had been dismissed from the hospital, and urging him, 
in the interests of Germany, to come to Erzindjan. He wired 
back : " Impossible to leave my post. Expect Austrians, who 
are due to pass here the 22nd June. . . ." 

On the evening of the 17th June, we went out for a walk with 
Mr. C, the druggist of the Red Cross Staff. He was as much 
horrified as we were at the cruelties that were being perpetrated, 
and expressed himself very plainly on the subject. He also 
received his dismissal. On our walk we met a gendarme, who 
told us that, ten minutes' distance away, a large convoy of exiles 
from Baibourt had been halted. He narrated to us, with appalUng 
vividness, how one by one the men had been massacred and cast 
into the depths of the gorge J : "Kezze, kezze, geUorlar ! (Kill, 
kill, push them over)." He told how, at each village, the women 

* The further details are given in the Allgemeine Missions-Zeitschrift, 
November, 1915 : " When we exclaimed in horror : ' So 3^ou fire on women 
and children ! ' the soldiers answered : ' What could we do ? It was our 
orders.' One of them added : ' It was a heart-breaking sight. For that 
matter, I did not shoot.' " — Editor. 

t On the evening of the 11th, we saw soldiers returning to town laden 
with loot. We heard from both Turks and Armenians that children's 
corpses were strewn along the road. 

I Every day ten or twelve of the men had been killed and thrown into 
the ravines. — Allgemeine Missions-Zeitschrift. 

[62] 



DANISH RED CROSS SISTER. 



249 



had been violated ; how he himself had desired to take a girl, but 
had been told that already she was no longer a maid ; how children 
had had their brains battered out when they cried or hindered the 
march. " There were the naked bodies of three girls ; I buried 
them to do a good deed," was his concluding remark. 

The following morning, at a very early hour, we heard the 
procession of exiles passing in front of our house, along the high 
road leading in to Erzindjan. We followed them and kept up 
with them as far as the town, about an hour's walk. Mr. G. came 
with us. It was a very large gang — only two or three of them men, 
all the rest women and children. Many of the women looked 
demented. They cried out : " Spare us, we will become Moslems 
or Germans or whatever you will ; only spare us. We are being 
taken to Kamakh Boghaz to have our throats cut," and they 
made an expressive gesture. Others kept silence, and marched 
patiently on with a few bundles on their backs and their children 
in their arms. Others begged us to save their children. Many 
Turks arrived on the scene to carry off children and girls, with or 
without their parents' consent. There was no time for reflection, 
for the crowd was being moved on continually by the mounted 
gendarmes brandishing their whips. On the outskirts of the 
town, the road to Kamakh Boghaz branches off from the main 
highway. At this point the scene turned into a regular slave 
market ; for our part, we took a family of six children, from three 
to fourteen years old, who clutched hold of us, and another little 
girl as well. We entrusted the latter to our Turkish cook, who 
was on the spot. She wanted to take the child to the kitchen of 
Dr. A.'s private house, and keep her there until we could come to 
fetch her ; but the doctor's adjutant, Riza Bey, gave the woman 
a beating and threw the child out into the street. Meanwhile, 
with cries of agony, the gang of sufferers continued its march, 
while we returned to the hospital with our six children. Dr. A. 
gave us permission to keep them in our room until we had packed 
our belongings ; they were given food and soon became calmer. 
" Now we are saved," they had cried when we took them. They 
refused to let go of our hands. The smallest, the son of a rich 
citizen of Baibourt, lay huddled up in his mother's cloak ; his 
face was swollen with crying and he seemed inconsolable. Once 
he rushed to the window and pointed to a gendarme : '* That's 
the man who killed my father." The children handed over to us 
their money, 475 piastres (about £4), which their parents had 
given them with the idea that perhaps the children, at any rate, 
would not be shot. 

We then rode into the town to obtain permission for'tbese 
children to travel with us. We were told that the high authorities 
were in session to decide the fate of the convoy which had just 
arrived. Nevertheless, Sister B. succeeded in getting word with 
someone she knew, who gave her the authorisation to take 
the children with her, and offered to give them false names in 

[62] T 2 



250 



ERZINDJAN. 



the passport. This satisfied us, and, after returning to the hospital, 
we left the same evening with baggage and children and all, and 
installed ourselves in a hotel at Erzindjan. The Turkish orderlies 
at the hospital were very friendly, and said : " You have done 
a good deed in taking these children." We could get nothing but 
one small room for the eight of us. During the night there 
was a frightful knocking at our door, and we were asked whether 
there were two German ladies in the room. Then aU became 
quiet again, to the great rehef of our Httle ones. Their first 
question had been, would we prevent them from being made 
Mohammedans ? And was our cross (the nurses' Red Cross) the 
same as theirs ? After that they were comforted. We left them 
in the room, and went ourselves to take our tea in the hotel cafe. 
We noticed that some discharged hospital patients of ours, who 
had always shown themselves full of gratitude towards us, 
behaved as if they no longer recognised us. The proprietor of 
the hotel began to hold forth; and everyone listened to what he 
was saying : " The death of these women and children has been 
decreed at Constantinople." The Hodja (Turkish priest) of our 
hospital came in, too, and said to us, among other things : "If 
God has no pity on them, why must you have pity ? The 
Armenians have committed atrocities at Van. That happened 
because their reHgion is ekzik (inferior). The Moslems should not 
have followed their example, but should have carried out the 
massacre with greater humanity." We always gave the same 
answer — that they ought to discover the guilty and do justice 
upon them, but that the massacre of women and children was, 
and always will remain, a crime. 

Then we went to the Mutessarif himself, with whom we had 
not succeeded in obtaining an interview before. The man looked 
like the devil incarnate, and his behaviour bore out his appearance. 
In a bellowing voice he shouted at us : " Women have no business 
to meddle with poKtics, but ought to respect the Government ! " 
We told him that we should have acted in precisely the same way 
if the victims had been Mohammedans, and that politics had 
nothing to do with our conduct. He answered that we had been 
expelled from the hospital, and that we should get the same 
treatment from him ; that he would not stand us, and that he 
would certainly not permit us to go to Harpout to fetch our belong- 
ings, but would send us to Sivas. Worst of all, he forbade us to 
take the children away, and at once sent a gendarme to carry 
them off from our room. 

On our way back to the hotel we actually met them, but they 
were hurried past us so quickly that we had not even a chance 
to return them their money. Afterwards we asked Dr. Linden- 
berg to see that this money was restored to them ; but, to find 
out where they were, he had to make enquiries of a Turkish 
officer, and just at the moment of our departure, when we had 
been told that they had already been killed, and when we had no 

[62] 



DANISH RED CROSS SISTER. 



251 



longer any chance of making a further search for them, the 
aforementioned Riza Bey came and asked us for this money, on * 
the ground that he wanted to return it to the children ! We had 
already decided to spend it on reHeving other Armenians. 

At Erzindjan we were now looked askance at. They would 
no longer let us stay at the hotel, but took us to a deserted 
Armenian house. The whole of this extensive quarter of the 
town seemed dead. People came and went at will to loot the 
contents of the houses ; in some of the houses families of Moslem 
refugees were already installed. We had now a roof over our 
heads, but no one would go to get us food. However, we managed 
to send a note to Dr. A., who kindly allowed us to return to the 
hospital. The following day, the Mutessarif sent a springless 
baggage cart, in which we were to do the seven days' journey to 
Sivas. We gave him to understand that we would not have this 
conveyance, and, upon the representations of Dr. A., they sent 
us a travelling carriage, with the threat to have us arrested if 
we did not start at once. This was on Monday, the 21st June, 
and we should have hked to wait for the Austrians, who were 
due to arrive on the Tuesday morning, and continue the journey 
in their company ; but Dr. A, declared that he could no longer 
give us protection, and so we started out. Dr. Lindenberg did 
us the kindness of escorting us as far as Rifahia*. During the 
first days of our journey we saw five corpses. One was a woman's, 
and still had clothes on ; the others were naked, one of them 
headless. There were two Turkish officers on the road with us 
who were really Armenians, as we were told by the gendarme 
attached to us. They preserved their incognito towards us, and 
maintained a very great reserve, but always took care not to get 
separated from us. On the fourth day they did not put in an 
appearance. When we enquired after them, we were given to 
understand that the less we concerned ourselves about them the 
better it would be for us. On the road, we broke our journey near 
a Greek village. A savage -looking man was standing by the 
roadside. He began to talk with us, and told us he was stationed 
there to kill all the Armenians that passed, and that he had 
already killed 250. He explained that they all deserved their 
fate, for they were all Anarchists — not Liberals or Socialists, but 
Anarchists. He told the gendarmes that he had received orders 
by telephone to kill our two traveUing companions. So these 
two men with their Armenian drivers must have perished there. 
We could not restrain ourselves from arguing with this assassin, 
but when he went off our Greek driver warned us : " Don't say 
a word, if you do . . . " — and he made the gesture of 
taking aim. The rumour had, in fact, got about that we were 
Armenians, which was as good as to say condemned to death. 

One day we met a convoy of exiles, who had said good-bye 
to their prosperous villages and were at that moment on their 

* This was not the route followed by the convoys of exiles. 

[62] 



252 



ERZINDJAS. 



way to Kamakh Boghaz. We had to draw up a long time by the 
•roadside while they marched past. The scene will never be for- 
gotten by either of us : a very small number of elderly men, a large 
number of women — vigorous figures with energetic features — 
a crowd of pretty children, some of them fair and blue-eyed, one 
little girl smiling at the strangeness of all she was seeing, but on 
all the other faces the solemnity of death. There was no noise ; 
it was all quiet, and they marched along in an orderly way, the 
children generally riding on the ox-carts ; and so they passed, 
some of them greeting us on the way — all these poor people, who 
are now standing at the throne of God, and whose cry goes up 
before Him. An old woman was made to get down from her 
donkey — she could no longer keep the saddle. Was she killed 
on the spot ? Our hearts had become as cold as ice. 

The gendarme attached to us told us then that he had escorted 
a convoy of 3,000 women and children to Mamahatoun (near 
Erzeroum) and Kamakh Boghaz. " Hep gildi, bildi," he said : 
" All gone, all dead." We asked him : " Why condemn them 
to this frightful torment ; why not kill them in their villages ? " 
Answer : " It is best as it is. They ought to be made to suffer ; 
and, besides, there would be no place left for us Moslems with 
all these corpses about. They will make a stench I " 

We spent a night at Enderessi, one day's journey from Shabin 
Kara-Hissar. As usual, we had been given for our lodging an 
empty Armenian house. On the wall there was a pencil scrawl 
in Turkish : " Our dwelhng is on the mountains, we have no 
longer any need of a roof to cover us ; we have already drained 
the bitter cup of death, we have no more need of a judge." 

The ground floor rooms of the house were still tenanted by 
the women and children. The gendarmes told us that they would 
be exiled next morning, but they did not know that yet ; they did 
not know what had become of the men of the house ; they were 
restless, but not yet desperate. 

Just after I had gone to sleep, I was awakened by shots in our 
immediate neighbourhood. The reports followed one another 
rapidly, and I distinctly heard the words of command. I reaUsed 
at once what was happening, and actually experienced a feeling 
of rehef at the idea that these poor creatures were now beyond 
the reach of human cruelty. 

Next morning our people told us that ten Armenians had been 
shot — that was the firing that we had heard — and that the 
Turkish civilians of the place were now being sent out to chase the 
fugitives. Indeed, we saw them starting off on horseback with 
guns. At the roadside were two armed men standing under a 
tree and dividing between them the clothes of a dead Armenian. 
We passed a place covered with clotted blood, though the corpses 
had been removed. It was the 250 roadmaking soldiers, of 
whom our gendarme had told us. 

[62] 



DANISH RED CROSS SISTER. 



253 



Once we met a large number of these labourers, who had so 
far been allowed to do their work in peace. They had been sorted 
into three gangs — Moslems, Greeks and Armenians. There were 
several officers with the latter. Our young Hassan exclaimed : 
" They are all going to be butchered." We continued our journey, 
and the road mounted a hill. Then our driver pointed with his 
whip towards the valley, and we saw that the Armenian gang 
was being made to stand out of the highroad. There were about 
400 of them, and they were being made to Une up on the edge 
of a slope. We know what happened after that. 

Two days before we reached Sivas, we again saw the same 
sight. The soldiers' bayonets ghttered in the sun. 

At another plac6 there were ten gendarmes shooting them 
down, while Turkish workmen were finishing off the victims with 
knives and stones. Here ten Armenians had succeeded in getting 
away. 

Later on, in the Mission Hospital at Sivas, we came across one 
of the men who had escaped. He told us that about 100 Armenians 
had been slaughtered there. Our informant himself had received 
a terrible wound in the nape of the neck and had fainted. After- 
wards he had recovered consciousness and had dragged himself 
in two days to Sivas. 

Twelve hours' distance from Sivas, we spent the night in a 
government building. For hours a gendarme, sitting in front of 
our door, crooned to himself over and over gain : " Ermenleri 
hep kesdiler — the Armenians have all been killed ! " In the 
next room they were talking on the telephone. We made out 
that they were giving instructions as to how the Armenians were 
to be arrested. They were talking chiefly about a certain Ohannes, 
whom they had not succeeded in finding yet. 

One night we slept in an Armenian house where the women 
had just heard that the men of the family had been condemned 
to death. It was frightful to hear their cries of anguish. It was 
no use our trying to speak to them. " Cannot your Emperor 
help us ? " they cried. The gendarme saw the despair on our 
faces, and said : " Their crying bothers you ; I will forbid them 
to cry." However, he let himself be mollified. He had taken 
particular pleasure in pointing out to us all the horrors that we 
encountered, and he said to young Hassan : " First we kill the 
Armenians, then the Greeks, then the Kurds." He would certainly 
have been dehghted to add : " And then the foreigners ! " Our 
Greek driver was the victim of a still more ghastly joke : " Look, 
down there in the ditch ; there are Greeks there too ! " 

At last we reached Sivas. We had to wait an hour in front 
of the Government Building before the examination of our papers 
was completed and we were given permission to go to the 
Americans. There, too, all was trouble and sorrow. 

On the 1st July we left Sivas and reached Kaisaria on the 
4th. We had been given permission to go to Talas, after depositing 

[62] 



254 



ERZINDJAN. DANISH RED CROSS SISTER. 



our baggage at the Jesuit School ; but when we wanted to go 
on from Kaisaria, we were refused leave and taken back to the 
Jesuit School, where a gendarme was posted in front of our door. 
However, the American Missionaries succeeded in getting us set 
at liberty. 

We then returned to Talas, where we passed several days full 
of commotion, for there, as well as at Kaisaria, there were many 
arrests being made. The poor Armenians never knew what the 
morrow would bring, and then came the terrifying news that all 
Armenians had been cleared out of Sivas. What happened there 
and in the villages of the surrounding districts will be reported 
by the American Mission. 

When we discovered that they meant to keep us there — for 
they had prevented us from joining the Austrians for the journey 
— we telegraphed to the German Embassy, and so obtained per- 
mission to start. There is nothing to tell about this part of our 
journey, except that the locusts had in places destroyed all the 
fruit and vegetables, so that the Turks are already beginning to 
have some experience of the Divine punishment. 



r62i 



Kamakh and Erzeroum. " Gotchnag,*' _4th September, 1915. 255 

63. KAMAKH AND ERZEROUM : STATEMENT* PUBLISHED IN 
THE NEW YORK JOURNAL " GOTCHNAG," 4th SEPTEMBER, 
1915. 

The Armenian villages of the Kamakh district have been 
visited with the most ghastly horrors. The Turks began by 
perpetrating massacres, and subsequently deported the survivors 
to various places — the men in one direction and the women in 
another. The houses and property belonging to the Armenians 
have been taken possession of by the Turks and Kurds, who have 
come to this district as refugees from the Vilayet of Van. 

The Armenian villages in the plain west of Erzeroum have 
all been cleared of their inhabitants. After all the men who were 
physically fit had been mobilised, the remainder were deported. 
The Armenian houses are being handed over to Turkish immi- 
grants. The Archimandrite Kevork Tourian, Metropolitan of the 
Armenians of Trebizond, has been brought to Erzeroum, where 
he will be tried by court-martial. 



* Source unspecified. 
[63] 



VII. 



VILAYET OF MAMOURET-UL-AZIZ. 

This province lies south-west of Erzindjan, where the Kara-Su 
bends from west to south and effects its junction with the Mourad-Suy 
to form the united stream of the Euphrates. The remnant of the 
convoys from the Vilayet of Erzeroum passed through this district 
on their way to Mesopotamia, and the Armenian inhabitants of 
M amour et-ul- Aziz itself were sent after them in the first weeks of 
July. 

The great advance of the Russians in the winter o/ 1915-6 brought 
this province within the immediate war zone, and apparently 
provoked a second outburst of persecution. On the 24th February, 
1916, the Paris journal " Le Temps " published the following telegram 
from Rome : " According to information that has reached he 
Vatican, the Turks have carried fire and sword through the region 
of Mamouret-ul-Aziz, killing all the Christians, including the 
Catholic Armenian Bishop, Mgr. Ivraklon, who was subjected 
to prolonged and fearful tortures.'' 

The name of the town to which most of the documents in this 
sectionrelate is, for obvious reasons, withheld. 



258 



TOWN OF H. 



64. H. : STATEMENT MADE BY MISS DA., A DANISH LADY IN THE 
SERVICE OF THE GERMAN RED CROSS AT H., TO MR. DB. AT 
BASLE. AND COMMUNICATED BY MR. DB. TO LORD BRYCE. 

Sister DA. left the German Red Cross Mission at H. in April, 
1916, travelling through Ourfato Aleppo, and thence by road and 
railway across Anatolia to Constantinople. Mr. DB. met her 
at Basle, on her way from Constantinople to Denmark, in the 
house of a mutual friend. 

Sister DA. told Mr. DB. that^on the 16th March, 1915, the 
German Vice-Consul appointed provisionally to Erzeroum 
(the Consul himself being interned in Russia) was passing through 
the town of H., accompanied by two German officers, and 
arranged to dine that evening with the German Red Cross Staff, 
after paying his respects to the Vah. At the hour fixed, only 
the two officers appeared. They said that they had called, 
with the Vice-Consul, upon the Vah, but that after a time the 
Vali had shewn signs of being irked by their presence, and so 
they had taken their departure, leaving the Vali and the Vice- 
Consul together. The company waited for the Vice-Consul 
about two hours. He arrived about 9.30 p.m., in a state of 
great agitation, and told them at once the purport of his interview. 
The Vah had declared to him that the Armenians in Turkey must 
be, and were going to be, exterminated. They had grown, he 
said, in wealth and numbers until they had become a menace 
to the ruling Turkish race ; extermination was the only remedy. 
The Vice-Consul had expostulated and represented that persecu- 
tion always increased the spiritual vitality of a subject race, 
and on grounds of expediency was the worst pohcy for the rulers. 
" Well, we shall see," said the Vali, and closed the conversation. 

This incident occurred on the 16th March, 1915, and IVIr. DB. 
points out that it must have been practically simultaneous with 
an interview given by Enver Pasha at Constantinople to the 
Gregorian Bishop of Konia in the course of February, 1915, 
Old Style. In this interview the Bishoj) had asked Enver whether 
he were satisfied with the conduct of the Armenian soldiers 
in the Ottoman Army, and Enver had testified warmly to their 
energy, courage and loyalty — so warmly, in fact, that the Bishop 
at once asked whether he might publish this testimonial over 
Enver 's name. Enver readily consented, and the Gregorian 
Patriarchate at Constantinople accordingly circulated an 
authorised account of the interview to the Armenian, and even 
to the Turkish, press.* Thus, in the latter part of February, 
1915, the Central Government at Constantinople was advertising 
its friendly feelings towards its Armenian subjects, while by the 
16th March, less than a month later, it had given its representative 
in a remote province to understand that a general massacre of 
these same Armenians was imminent. 

* This incident was communicated to Mr. DB. by DC. Effendi, a 
gentleman who had held high office under the Ottoman Government till 
the outbreak of the War. 

[64] 



DANISH RED CROSS SISTER. 



259 



To return to Sister DA.'s narrative — ishe told Mr. DB. that 
between February and the beginning of May, 1915, about 400 
Armenians had been arrested and imprisoned at H. They were 
the young men, the strong in body and the intellectuals. Most 
of their kind had been taken for the Army in the mobilisation 
of the previous autumn, but these 400 had been left, and were 
now thrown into prison instead of being conscribed. 

At the beginning of May, the Vali of H. sent for the head 
of the German Protestant Mission Station in the town, and 
requested him to tell the Armenians that they must surrender 
their arms. Otherwise, he said, the most stringent measures 
would be taken against them. The missionaries must persuade 
them to deliver up the arms quickly. The head of the Mission 
Station called a meeting of Armenian notables, and put to them 
what the Vali had said. The Armenians decided to consult 
with their Turkish fellow-townsmen, and so a mixed meeting 
was held of all the Turkish and Armenian notables of H. At 
this meeting the Turkish notables urged the Armenians to give 
up their arms and promised that, if they did so, they themselves 
would guarantee their security, and would see that they suffered 
nothing at the Government's hands. 

This promise induced the Armenians to comply. They 
collected their arms and presented them to the Vali, but the 
Vali declared that all had not been brought. The newest and 
most dangerous weapons, he said, had been in the hands of the 
400 prisoners. These must be surrendered also, or the penalties 
he had threatened would still be inflicted on the whole Armenian 
community at H. So the notables went to the men in prison, 
and besought them to reveal where their arms were hidden ; 
all the Gregorian priests went, and the head of the German 
Mission Station went with them. The 400 were obstinate at 
first, but it was represented to them that, if they refused, they 
would be responsible for the destruction of the whole community, 
and at last they gave in. They revealed the hiding-places, 
and the arms were duly found and delivered up to the Vali. 

The Vali immediately^ had photographs taken of all the arms 
collected, and sent them to Constantinople as evidence that an 
Armenian revolution was on the point of breaking out at H. He 
asked for a free hand to suppress it, and an order came back from 
Constantinople that he was to take whatever measures he con- 
sidered necessary on the spot. 

After that, the 400 young men were conveyed out of the 
town by night and never heard of again. Shots were said to 
have been heard in the distance. 

Three days later, the rest of the Armenian community at 
H. was summoned by bugle to assemble before the Government 
Building, and then deported. The men were first sent off in 
one direction, and later the women and children, on ox-carts, 
in another. They were only given a few hours to make their 

[64] 



260 



TOWN OF H. 



preparations, and Sister DA. described their consternation as 
being terrible. They tried to dispose of their property, which 
the Turks bought up for practically nothing. Sewing-machines, 
for instance, sold for two or three piastres (4c?. to M.). The 
process of deportation was extended to the whole Vilayet. 

The Armenian children in the German Orphanage at H. 
were sent away with the rest. " My orders," said the Vali, are 
to deport all Armenians. I cannot make an exception of these." 
He announced, however, that a Government Orphanage was 
to be established for any children that remained, and shortly 
afterwards he called on Sister DA. and asked her to come and 
visit it. Sister DA. went with him, and found about 700 Armenian 
children in a good building. For every tAvelve or fifteen children 
there was one Armenian nurse, and they were well clothed and 
fed. " See what care the Government is taking of the Armenians," 
the Vali said, and she returned home surprised and pleased ; 
but when she visited the Orphanage again several days later, 
there were only thirteen of the 700 children left — the rest had 
disappeared. They had been taken, she learnt, to a lake six 
hours' journey by road from the to^oi and drowned. Three 
hundred fresh children were subsequently collected at the 
Orphanage," and Sister DA. believed that they suffered the 
same fate as their predecessors. These victims were the residue 
of the Armenian children at H. The finest boys and prettiest 
girls had been picked out and carried off by the Turks and Kurds 
of the district, and it was the remainder, who had been left on the 
Government's hands, that were disposed of in this way. 

As soon as the Armenians had been deported from H., convoys 
of other exiles began to pass through from the districts further 
north. Sister DA. did not see these convoys, because they made 
a detour round the town, and she never left the town precincts ; 
but she talked with many people who did see them, and they 
gave a terrible description of their plight. The roads near the 
town, they said, were littered with the corpses of those who 
had died of sickness or exhaustion, or from the violence of their 
guards. And these accounts were confirmed by her own experi- 
ence last April (1916), on her journey to Aleppo. On the road 
to Aleppo from Ourfa she passed numbers of corpses lightly 
buried under a layer of soil. The extremities of the limbs were 
protruding, and had been gnawed by dogs. She was told by 
people she met that unheard-of atrocities had been committed, 
and that there were cases of women who had drowned themselves 
to escape their tormentors. 

It was Sister DA.'s impression that the deportation and 
massacre of the Armenians had ruined Turkey economically. 
The Armenians had beon the only skilled workers in the country, 
and industry came to a standstill when they were gone. You 
could not replace copper vessels for your household ; you could 
not get your roof re-tiled. The Government had actually retained 

m 



DANISH RED CROSS SISTER. 



261 



a few Armenian artisans — bakers, masons, &c. — to work for 
the Army, and whatever work was still done was done by these 
and by a few others who had gone over to Islam. But though 
the sources of production were cut off, the Turks had not begun 
to feel the pinch. Having laid hands on all the property of the 
Armenians, they were richer, for the moment, than before. 
During the past year bread had been plentiful and cheap, cattle 
and meat had been abundant, and there were still enough supplies, 
she thought, to last for some time yet. Under these circum- 
stances, the Turkish peasantry were well content — tjxcept for 
the women, who resented the absence of their husbands at the 
war. The dearth of men, Sister DA. said, was everywhere notice- 
able. She had been told, however, that some Kurdish tribes 
had refused to furnish recruits, and that the Kizil Bashis of the 
Dersim had furnished none at all. The Government had been 
preparing an expedition against the Kizil Bashis to extort a toll 
of conscripts, but the plan had been thwarted by the Russian 
advance. In the Turkish villages agricultural work was being 
largely carried on by the Armenian women and children, who had 
been handed over to the Moslem peasants by the authorities. 
Sister DA. saw quantities of them everywhere, practically in 
the condition of slaves. They were never allowed to rest in 
peace, but were constantly chivied about from one village to 
another. 

As she came down to Aleppo she found the country under 
good cultivation. Great stores of bread had been accumulated 
for the army in Mesopotamia. In Anatolia, on the other hand, 
the fields were neglected, and she thought that there famine was 
not far off. But it was not till she reached Constantinople that 
she found any present scarcity. In the provinces only sugar 
and petrol had been scarce ; at Constantinople all commodities 
were both scarce a.nd dear. 

Sister DA. was told at Constantinople that Turks of all parties 
were united in their approval of what was being done to the 
Armenians, and that Enver Pasha openly boasted of it as his 
personal achievement. Talaat Bey, too, was reported to have 
remarked, on receiving the news of Vartkes'* assassination : 
" There is no room in the Empire for both Armenians and Turks. 
Either they had to go or we." 



* Mr. Vartkes was an Armenian deputy in the Ottoman Parliament, 
who was murdered, together with another deputy, Mr. Zohrab, when he 
was being escorted by gendarmes from Aleppo to be court-martiallcd at 
Diyarbekir (see Docs. 7 and 9). — Editor. 

[64] 



262 



TOWN or H. 



65. H. : REPORT, DATED Uth JULY, 1915, PROM A FOREIGN 
RESroENT AT H. ; COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN 
COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF. 

If it were simply a matter of being obliged to leave here to 
go somewhere else, it would not be so bad, but everybody 
knows that it is a case of going to one's death. If there was any 
doubt about it, it has been removed by the arrival of a number 
of convoys, aggregating several thousand people, from Erzeroum 
and Erzindjan. I have visited their encampment a number of 
times, and talked with some of the people. A more pitiable 
sight cannot be imagined. They are, almost without exception, 
ragged, filthy, hungry and sick. That is not surprising, in view 
of the fact that they have been on the road for nearly two months, 
with no change of clothing, no chance to wash, no shelter and little 
to eat. The Government has been giving them some scanty 
rations here. I watched them one time when their food was 
brought. Wild animals could not be worse. They rushed upon 
the guards who carried the food, and the guards beat them back 
with clubs, hitting hard enough to kill them sometimes. To watch 
them, one could hardly believe that these people were human beings. 

As one walks through the camp, mothers offer their children 
and beg one to take them. In fact, the Turks have been taking 
their choice of these children and girls for slaves, or worse. In 
fact, they have even had their doctors there to examine the 
more likely girls and thus secure the best ones. 

There are very few men among them, as most of them have 
been killed on the road. All tell the same story of having been 
attacked and robbed by the Kurds. Most of them were attacked 
over and over again, and a great many of them, especially the 
men, were killed. Women and children were also killed. Many 
died, of course, from sickness and exhaustion on the way, and 
there have been deaths each day that they have been here. 
Several different parties have arrived, and, after remaining a day 
or two, have been pushed on with no apparent destination. 
Those who have reached here are only a small portion, however, 
of those who started. By continuing to drive these people on 
in this way, it will be possible to dispose of all of them in a 
comparatively short time. Among those with whom I have talked 

were three sisters. They had been educated at and spoke 

excellent English. They said their family was the richest in 
Erzeroum and numbered twenty-five when they left ; but there 
were now only fourteen survivors. The other eleven, including 
the husband of one of them and their old grandmother, had been 
butchered before their eyes by the Kurds. The oldest male 
survivor of the family was eight years of age. When they left 
Erzeroum, they had money, horses and personal effects, but they 
had been robbed of everything, including even their clothing. 
They said that some of them had been left absolutely naked, and 
others with only a single garment. When they reached a village, 

[65] 



REPORT FROM A FOREIGN RESIDENT. 



263 



their gendarmes obtained clothes for them from some of the 
native women. Another girl with whom I talked is the daughter 
of the Protestant pastor of Erzeroum. She said that every member 
of her family with her had been killed and that she was left 
entirely alone. These and some others are a few survivors of the 
better class of people who have been exiled. They are being 
detained in an abandoned school-house just outside the town, 
and no one is allowed to enter it.' They said that they were 
practically in prison, although they were allowed to visit a spring 
just outside the building. It was there I happened to see them. 
All the others are camped in a large open field, with no protection 
at all from the sun. 

The condition of these people indicates clearly the fate of 
those who have left and are about to leave from here. I believe 
nothing has been heard from any of them as yet, and probably 
very little will be heard. The system that is being followed 
seems to be to have bands of Kurds awaiting them on the road, 
to kill the men especially, and, incidentally, some of the others. 
The entire movement seems to be the most thoroughly organised 
and effective massacre this country has ever seen. 

Not many men have been spared, however, to accompany 
those who are being sent into exile, for a more prompt and sure 
method has been used to dispose of them. Several thousand 
Armenian men have been arrested during the past few weeks. 
These have been put in prison, and each time that several hundred 
had been gathered up in that way they were sent away during 
the night. The first batch were sent away during the night of the 
23rd June. Among them were some of the professors in the 
College and other prominent Armenians, including the Prelate 
of the Armenian Gregorian Church. There have been frequent 
rumours that all of these were killed, and there is little doubt 
that they were. All Armenian soldiers have likcAvise been 
sent away in the same manner. They have been arrested and 
confined in a building at one end of the town. No distinction 
has been made between those who had paid their military 
exemption-tax and those who had not. Their money was 
accepted, and then they were arrested and sent off with the others. 
It was said that they were to go somewhere to work on the roads, 
but no one had heard from them, and that is undoubtedly false. 

The fate of all the others has been pretty well established 
by rehable reports of a similar occurrence on Wednesday, the 
7th July. On the Monday many men were arrested, both at H. 
and G., and put in prison. At daybreak on the Tuesday morning 
they were taken out and made to march towards an almost 
uninhabited mountain. There were about eight hundred in all, 
and they were roped together in groups of fourteen each. That 
afternoon they arrived in a small Kurdish village, where they 
were kept overnight in the mosque and other buildings. During 
all this time they were without food or water. All their money 

[65] U 



264 



TOWN OF H. REPORT FROM A FOREIGN RESIDENT. 



and much of their clothing had been taken from them. On the 
Wednesday morning they were taken to a valley a few hours 
distant, where they were all made to sit down. Then the gen- 
darmes began shooting them^ until they had killed nearly all of 
them. Some who had not been killed by bullets were then 
disposed of with knives and bayonets. A few succeeded in break- 
ing the rope with which they were tied to their companions and 
running away, but most of these were pursued and killed. A few 
succeeded in getting away, probably not more than two or three. 
Among those who were killed was the treasurer of the College. 
Many other estimable men were among the number. No 
charge of any kind had ever been made against any of these 
men. They were simply arrested and killed as part of the general 
plan to dispose of the Armenian race. 

Last night several hundred more men, including both men 
arrested by the civil authorities and those enrolled as soldiers, 
were taken in a different direction and murdered in a similar 
manner. It is said that this happened at a place not two hours 
distant from here. I shall ride out that way some day when things 
become a little quieter, and try to verify it for myself. 

The same thing has been done systematically in the villages. 
A few weeks ago about three hundred men were gathered 
together at AT. and BG., two villages four and five hours distant 
from here, and then taken up into the mountains and massacred. 
This seems to be fully estabhshed. Many women from those 
villages have been here since and told about it. There have been 
rumours of similar occurrences in other places. 

There seems to be a definite plan to dispose of all the 
Armenian men ; but, after the departure of the families during 
the first few days of the enforcement of the order, it was announced 
that women and children with no men in the family might remain 
here for the present, and many hoped the worst was over. The 
American missionaries began considering plans to aid the women 
and children, who would be left here with no means of support. 
It was thought that perhaps an orphanage could be opened to 
care for some of the children, and especially those who had 
been born in America and then brought here by their parents, 
and also those who belonged to parents who had been connected 
in some way with the American mission and schools. There 
would be plenty of opportunity, although there might not be 
sufficient means, to care for children who reached here with 
the exiles from other vilayets, and whose parents had died on 
the way. I went to see the Vali about this matter yesterday, 
and was met with a flat refusal. He said we could aid these people 
if we wished to do so, but the Government was estabUshing 
orphanages for the children, and we could not undertake any 
work of that nature. An hour after I left the VaH, the announce- 
ment was made that all the Armenians remaining here, including 
women and children, must leave on the 13th July. 

[65] 



TOWN OF H. MEMORANDUM ON A CONVOY. 



265 



66. H. : MEMORANDUM* FORWARDED BY A FOREIGN RESIDENT 
AT H. (THE AUTHOR OF THE PRECEDING REPORT) ; COM- 
MUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN 
AND SYRIAN RELIEF. 

On the 1st Junef, 3,000 people (mostly women, girls and 
children) left H., accompanied by seventy policemen and a certain 
Turk of influence, K. Bey. The next day they arrived at AL., 
safely. Here K. Bey took 400 liras from the people, "in order to 
keep it safe till their arrival at Malatia," and promised to accom- 
pany them, for their protection, as far as Ourfa ; but that same 
day he ran away with all the money. 

The third day the convoy of exiles reached AM. There the 
Arabs and Kurds began to carry off the women and girls, and this 
went on till they reached the first railway station at Ras-ul-Ain, 
on the Bagdad line. The poUcemen given to them for their 
protection incited the half-savage tribes of the mountains to 
attack them in order to rob, kill and violate their women or else 
carry them away, and they themselves many times violated the 
women openly. 

The fourth day they arrived at AN., where the policemen 
killed three of the prominent men. The ninth day they came to 
AO., where the horses, hired and paid for in full for the journey 
as far as Malatia, were taken and sent back. So they had again 
to hire ox-carts to carry them to Malatia. Here many were left 
without any beast of burden, only a few being able to buy donkeys 
and mules, which were also stolen in their turn. 

At AO., a policeman carried off Mrs. L. and her two daughters 
and ran away. 

The thirteenth day the caravan was at Malatia, but for one 
hour only, for they returned to the village of AP., two hours from 
Malatia. Here the policemen deserted them altogether, after 
taking from them about 200 Hras in toll for the protection they 
had given them that far, and the people were left to the mercy 
of the beastly Bey (claw-chief) of the Kurds of Aghja-Daghi. 

On the fifteenth day they were again toiling on their way 
through the steep mountains, when the Kurds rounded up 150 
of the men of all ages from fifteen to ninety years. They took 
them some distance off and butchered them ; then they came back 
and began to rob the people. 

That day another convoy of exiles (only 300 of whom were 
men) from SivasJ, Egin and Tokat, joined the convoy from H., 
thus forming a bigger convoy of 18,000 people in all. They 
started again on the seventeenth day, under the so-called pro- 
tection of another Kurdish Bey. This Bey called out his people, 
who attacked the convoy and plundered them. They carried ofE 
five of the prettiest girls and a few Sisters of Grace from Sivas. 
At night some more girls were stolen, but they were returned 
after being violated. So the journey began once more, and on 



* Name of author withheld. f July ? — Editor. % See Doc. 78. 

[66] U 2 



266 



TOWN OF H. 



the way the pretty gh'ls were carried off one by one, while the 
stragglers from the convoy were invariably killed. On the twenty- 
fifth day they reached the village of Geuhk, and all the villagers 
pursued the convoy for a long distance, tormenting and robbing 
the exiles. On the thirty-second day they found themselves at 
the village of Kiakhta. Here they remained two days, and again 
many girls and women Avere carried off. 

On the fortieth day the convoy came in sight of the river 
Mourad, a branch of the Euphrates. Here they saw the bodies 
of more than 200 men floating in the river, with traces of blood 
and blood-stained fezes, clothes and stockings on the banks. 

The chief of the neighbouring village took one Hra in toll 
from each man, as a ransom for not being thrown into the river. 

On the fifty-second day they arrived at another village, and 
here the Kurds took from them everything they had, even their 
shirts and drawers, so that for five days the whole convoy 
marched completely naked under the scorching sun. For another 
five days they did not have a morsel of bread, nor even a drop of 
water. They were scorched to death by thirst. Hundreds upon 
hundreds fell dead on the way, their tongues were turned to 
charcoal, and when, at the end of the five days, they reached a 
fountain, the whole convoy naturally rushed towards it. But 
here the pohcemen barred the way and forbade them to take a 
single drop of water. Their purpose was to sell it at from one 
to three Uras the cup, and sometimes they actually withheld the 
water after getting the money. At another place, where there 
were wells, some women threw themselves into them, as there was 
no rope or pail to draw up the water. These women were drowned, 
and, in spite of that, the rest of the people drank from that well, 
the dead bodies still remaining there and stinking in the water. 
Sometimes, when the wells were shallow and the women could 
go down into them and come out again, the other people would 
rush to lick or suck their wet, dirty clothes, in the effort to quench 
their thirst. 

AVhen they passed an Arab village in their naked condition, 
the Arabs pitied them and gave them old pieces of clothes to 
cover themselves with. Some of the exiles who stiU had money 
bought some clothes ; but some still remained who travelled 
thus naked all the way to the city of Aleppo. The poor women 
could hardly walk for shame ; they walked all bent double. 

Even in their nakedness they had found some means of 
preserving the little money they had. Some kept it in their 
hair, some in their mouths and some in their wombs ; and when 
the robbers attacked them some were clever enough to search 
for money in those secret places, and that in a very beastly 
manner, of course. 

On the sixtieth day, when they reached Viran Shehr, only 
300 exiles remained out of all the 18,000. On the sixty-fourth 
day they gathered together all the men and the sick women 

[66] 



MEMORANDUM ON A CONVOY. 



267 



and children and burned and killed them all. The remainder were 
ordered to continue on their way. In one day's journey they 
reached Ras-ul-Ain, where for two days, for the first time since 
they started, the Government gave them bread. The bread was 
uneatable, but for the three succeeding days they did not have 
even that. 

[Here a Circassian persuaded the wife of the Pastor of Sivas, 
as well as some other women, with their children, to go with him 
to the station, promising to send them to Aleppo by train. In 
spite of all the w^arnings of their friends, these women followed 
the man, as they and their children were no longer capable of 
finishing the journey on foot. The man took them in the opposite 
direction from the station, explaining that he would borrow 
money from his friend, near by, for the tickets ; but after a 
short time he came back to where the convoy was halted. The 
women and their children w^ere no more. 

The governor of the place demanded three liras for himself 
and one lira for the railway ticket from each of them, before 
he would let them go by train. 

On the seventieth day, when they reached Aleppo, 35 women 
and children were left out of the 3,000 exiles from H., and 150 
women and children altogether out of the whole convoy of 
18,000. 



[66] 



268 



TOWN OF H. 



67. H. : NARRATIVE OF AN ARMENIAN REFUGEE FROM H. ; 
COMMUNICATED TO LORD BRYCE BY THE CORRESPONDENT 
OF THE LONDON "TIMES" AT BUKAREST. 

Much has been written in the Press about the Armenian 
massacres, and especially about the horrors of the wholesale 
deportations, by which the Armenians were forcibly removed 
from their native homes. At the same time no precise or concrete 
description has yet been given of the monstrous excesses of 
Avhich the Armenian nation has been the victim. But a young 
Armenian, an eye-witness who escaped by a miracle from the 
atrocious butchery at H., has related to us in all their appalling 
detail the events that took place at this town. His narrative 
gives a clear idea of the enormity and the ignoble cruelty of the 
crime committed, not only at H., but in all the other provinces 
of Armenia. We can easily discern from these facts the criminal 
tactics of the Young Turkish Government. 

" At H.," says this witness, " the deportation of the Armenians 
lasted three months. In June the most prominent members 
of the Dashnaktzoutioun Committee were arrested, including 
Messrs. DE., DF., DG., DH., and DJ., as well as various others. 
They were subjected to unheard-of tortures, to extract from them 
supposed secrets concerning the alleged project of an Armenian 
revolution. No result was obtained from this inquisition. 

" The Armenian population was simple enough to believe 
that this harsh persecution was only directed against the members 
of the Dashnaktzoutioun Committee, and it therefore displayed 
no uneasiness on its own account. But shortly afterwards the 
arrests were extended in scope and began to assume formidable 
proportions. All the Armenian young men in the town were 
arrested and terrorised by infernal torments. About 13,000 
Armenian soldiers, too, who were serving among the Ottoman 
troops at H., were stripped of their arms and transferred to the 
Red Palace " at G. They were kept there under stringent 
guard, and hunger and thirst were left to do their work upon 
them. The friends and relations of the prisoners were rigorously 
debarred from any communication with them. A week later 
all the prisoners were brought out again and despatched to an 
unknown destination, under a strong escort of gendarmerie with 
fixed bayonets. They were told that they were going to be 
transported to Ourfa, to work on the roads and lines of communica- 
tion, but when they reached BP. Han, near BQ. village, they 
were all shot and their corpses shovelled into a great trench, 
which had been specially prepared for them. The majority of 
the young Armenians who were treated in this way were pupils 
of the American College, the French College, and the Central 
Armenian School. Other prisoners were subsequently led away 
in the same direction in gangs of five and shot. T^:enty of these 

r«7] 



ARMENIAN VICTIM. 



269 



unfortunates succeeded by a miracle in escaping, and have related 
the details of this awful butchery. 

" Next came the turn of the imprisoned members of the 
Dashnaktzoutioun Committee ; but they had guessed the fate 
that was awaiting them and offered a desperate resistance, 
which ended in their setting fire to the building in which they 
were confined, since they preferred being burnt alive to becoming 
the prey of Turkish barbarity. (There were from twenty-five 
to thirty of these Dashnakists, but the young refugee was ignorant 
of their names, with the exception of those which we have 
mentioned above.) 

"In July all Armenian famihes of any standing in G. were 
compelled to emigrate. The arrests of the young men had been 
effected at night time, but the deportation of these wealthy 
famihes was carried out in full daylight. 

" These exiles from G. were taken to the villages of AN. and 
AO. On their way they were overtaken by a gendarme riding 
post-haste with an order from the Vali, which directed the return 
of a score of individuals among the party. These individuals 
were taken a distance of twenty kilometres and then slaughtered 
without pity, hke cattle, on the banks of a river and their corpses 
thrown into the water. As for the rest, the men were separated 
from the women and cruelly murdered by blows of the axe. 
The women and girls were carried off by the Kurds and Turks. 

" This was followed by the general deportation. The people 
were deported in several convoys, and in different directions. 
These convoys were massacred openly and without discrimination, 
some below the hill of AU., others on the summit of BR. Hill and 
on Mount BS. 

" A few men and women in the service of the Turkish and 
Kurdish beys were allowed to live until the end of the harvest. 
The compulsory emigration was even forced upon Armenians 
who had been converts to Islam since the massacres of 1895. 
These were deported in October. 

" All the professors and schoolmasters were also imprisoned 
and subsequently assassinated, at the same time as the young 
men. Those, however, who were connected with German 
institutions were happily excepted. 

" The American Consul did not see fit to intervene in favour 
of these unfortunates — not even when they were American 
citizens. We do not know the motive of this passive attitude 
of his. 

" Out of a numerous convoy of exiles from Erzeroum and 
Erzindjan, nothing but a handful of women and children succeeded 
in reaching H., after abandoning on their way many of their 
number who could no longer bear up against the misery and 
starvation. Those who have reached H. are in an absolutely 
deplorable condition. They hardly look like human beings, 
and roam about the streets seeking for a morsel of dry bread, 

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TOWN OF H. ARMENIAN VICTIM. 



until they fall fainting from exhaustion and are picked up next 
day half dead by the municipal scavenger carts. These scenes 
are repeated daily. 

" The massacre of the entire population of the Province of 
Sivas has been effected in the same fashion. Everywhere one 
passes corpses lying unburied in the open. On my journey I 
saw heart-rending incidents — women in their last agony lying 
on the ground with their sucklings, already dead, beside them. 

" The Turkish and Kurdish villages are full of Armenian 
women and girls. Some of the villagers have taken possession 
of dozens of them. Eimen, the head of the ' German Oriental 
Mission,' remarks, as if that completely justified everything, that 
now the Armenians will realise for the future the serious conse- 
quences of conspiring against Germany and her Allies. A con- 
siderable number of Armenians from H. and the neighbourhood 
have taken refuge among the mountains of Dersim, where the 
native Kurdish mountaineers have offered them generous 
hospitality." 

Another Armenian, who succeeded in escaping from Der-el-Zor, 
in Arabia, describes the miseries endured there by the Armenian 
women. They are not only suffering from the ravages of disease, 
but from the lawlessness of the Arabs, who come again a^nd again 
to snatch victims for their bestial lust. 



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271 



68. MAMOURET-UL-AZIZ : NARRATIVE OF AN ARMENIAN LADY 
DEPORTED FROM C. (A PLACE HALF-AN-HOUR'S DISTANCE 
FROM H.), DESCRIBING HER JOURNEY FROM C. TO RAS-UL- 
AIN ; WRITTEN AFTER HER ESCAPE FROM TURKEY, AND 
DATED ALEXANDRIA, 2nd NOVEMBER, 1915 ; PUBLISHED 
IN THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL " GOTCHNAG " OF NEW YORK, 
8th JANUARY, 1916. 

Shortly after last Easter (1915), the Turkish officials searched 
the Armenian churches and schools of G., H., C, AQ., AR., AS. 
and the surrounding villages, but without finding anything 
incriminating. Afterwards they took the keys of these buildings, 
and filled them with soldiers. They also searched private houses 
on the pretence of looking for arms and ammunition, but they 
did not find anything. After that the Town Crier announced 
that all arms were to be handed over to the Government, and 
by this means a number of arms were collected. 

After that, they arrested from the town of C. the following 
persons : Professor B., Mr. H. and his brother J., Mr. 0. and 
his son P., Mr. Q., the brothers R., the brothers S., and T. Effendi, 
as well as many others, old and young. They took them to the 
house of V. Agha, stripped them one by one and gave them 
300 lashes on their backs. When they fainted, they threw 
them into a stable and waited until they had revived, in order 
to beat them again. The men who performed these cruel acts 
consisted of the following Turks : Commissar}^ (Gendarme) W. 
Effendi the son of Commissary X., V. Agha, V.'s cousin Y., Z. 
Agha, Hadji CA. Bey the son of CB. Effendi, CD., and CE. the 
son of V. Agha. Among the Kurds implicated were the son of 
CP., CG., etc. The above-mentioned CF.'s son and another 
Kurd beat Mr. CH. until he was half dead. 

\J- After beating T. Effendi in H., and tearing out his finger 
nails and the flesh of his hands and feet, they put a rope under 
his arms, dragged him to C, and threw him into prison. Then 
they entered his house, and, on the pretence of searching it, made 
his wife, who was in indifferent health, lie on the ground ; a 
soldier sat on her, and they began to beat her on her feet, asking 
her where they had hidden their arms. After a few days her 
husband died in the prison. 

In C. they beat many young men to get their arms, so that 
they were obliged to buy arms from the Turks and give them 
to the Government*. 

When the Government was convinced that they had no 
more arms to surrender, they stopped tormenting them ; but 
after a few days' interval they took the young men to G., im- 
prisoned them there for a time, and then deported them in May. 
Meanwhile the women of C. went to the German missionary, 
Dr. U., at G. and begged him to defend them. Dr. U. came 
to C. and spoke in a church ; he advised the Armenians to trust 
the Turks absolutely. 

" r^See^Docs! 94 andi liz. 

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TOWN OF C. 



When I was in C. I heard that in H. they had beaten CI. Agha, 
who subsequently disappeared. 

They plucked out the hair and nails of some of the professors. 
They dug out their eyes and branded them with red hot irons, 
so that some of them died immediately, and others first lost 
their reason and died thereafter. 

The Bishop of H., CJ., and other prominent Armenians were 
imprisoned and suffered many cruelties. 

On Friday, the 2nd July, they deported part of the 
Armenians of G. Their destination appeared to be Ourfa via 
Diyarbekir. 

On Saturday, the 3rd July, they deported all Armenians 
domiciled in the houses belonging to CL. in A. Street, in the 
town of G. Again their destination was supposed to be Ourfa, 
but via Malatia in this case. 

We ourselves were deported on the 4th July in the direction 
of Ourfa via Diyarbekir. 

The Town Crier proclaimed that on the following Tuesday 
those from B. and C. Streets in the Town of H. would be deported, 
on Wednesday the Armenians from AQ., on Thursday those 
from AR., and so on. 

CJ. and two hundred other Armenians were deported ten days 
before we were, that is on Wednesday, the 23rd June ; we do 
not know their destination. Their party started at midnight. 
Some of them dropped cards asking for money, and at AT. money 
was conveyed to them. But the following Monday, the 28th 
June, when the Armenian women of AT. went to the river, they 
saw some Turkish women washing blood-stained clothes. The 
Armenian women took the clothes from the Turkish women and 
brought them to the Governor at G. The Governor on hearing 
this went to AT. and found that the Bishop and the 200 Armenians 
had been killed. 

Up to the day we started, the Syrians had not yet been 
deported, and the women who had no husbands were also allowed 
to remain, but later on CK. Aghassi said that not a single 
Armenian would be left. After the Armenians were deported, 
the Government locked their houses and sealed them up. The 
men of CL.'s factory were also deported with their families. 
In C. some of the tradesmen were not deported, as, for exampk , 
CM. Agha the son of CN. Agha, the baker CO. and his family, 
and the two brothers, CP. and CQ. Aghas, the sons of Q. Agha. 
CQ. Agha became a Moslem, while the father was deported with 
the Bishop. 

All the people of C. started the same day. I think we were 
about 600 families. We had with us all our cattle and all our 
property. The first night we reached AU. and slept that night 
in the fields. The next day we passed many corpses heaped 
together under bridges and on the road ; their blood had collected 
in pools. Probably these were the Armenians that were killed 

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273 



with the Bishop, for the corpses were all those of men. We 
spent the night near AV. in a valley, and that night we had to 
drink water polluted with blood. We promised our guards 
money if they took us a better road and gave us clean water. 
The third day they again made us travel past corpses, and on 
Wednesday we reached A. 

The same morning the gendarmes that were accompanying 
us, W. Effendi and the other Turkish effendis that were with 
him, put down their chairs in front of our han, and sat down. 
Then they turned to us and told us that they had received 
telegrams from H., and that instead of going to Ourfa some of 
us would go to Yermag and the rest to Severeg, so that our 
journey would thus be shortened. " Only it is necessary," they 
added, " that your men should come and register themselves at 
the han at A., and state which way they would hke to go. Thank 
the Sultan, who has made your journey shorter." After these 
words they all clapped their hands and forced us to do the same. 
Our men, being simple-minded, were deceived, and they even 
left their hats and coats to go to the han in question. None of 
those that went returned. Then the rest of those above 16 years 
of age and all the old men were arrested and taken to the same 
place. After this the gendarmes beat the women and forced 
them to continue their journey. The women said : " We will 
not go unless our men go with us. You may kill us if you want to." 
But the Turkish officials told us that our men would follow us 
in a Httle while, and forced the women and children to march 
on, so they marched on crying and waiHng. After half-an-hour's 
journey they made us sit in the fields, and all the Turkish 
officers returned to A. except one. The same day some Arab 
women (that is, Armenian gipsies) brought us bread, in spite 
of the officers' efforts to prevent them, and when they heard 
that we were crying because our men had been killed, they told us 
that they had seen them all passing by roped together. Again we 
went on under the hot burning sun, still crying. The sixth day they 
made us stop in a Kurdish village, where we spent the night. Next 
morning we saw that all the gendarmes that had returned to A. 
had now rejoined the convoy. 

Then Gendarme W. Effendi and the other Turks with him 
beat us and forced us under threat of death to give them all our 
money and ornaments. They said that, if we did not give them 
up, they would violate us and exile us to different places. We 
were afraid, and gave them everything we had. Then they gave 
us back from five piastres (lOd.) to one medjidia (3s. 2d.) each, 
at the same time stating that our money and everything else 
would be returned to us at Diyarbekir, and that they had only 
taken our jewellery and money for safety. 

The ninth day, they took us to the top of a mountain, and 
the same Effendi and the other gendarmes searched us all over 
in a shameful manner ; they took all the siik-stuffs and everything 

[681 



274 



TOWN or C. 



else of value in our clothes and bedding. Half-an-hour later 
we reached a Kurdish village. There I met a Turkish soldier 
from Malatia, called CR., whom I knew. He pitied me, and 
told me that it was all over with us. "I would advise you," 
he said, " to leave your company and look after yourself." 

We Avere already within a short distance of Diyarbekir Avhen 
two soldiers came from the Governor, to find out where we had 
been during the last nine days. Here the gendarmes that were 
with us took away all our cows and cattle ; they also kidnapped 
one woman and two girls. Outside the walls of Diyarbekir, 
we had to sit in the burning sun for 24 hours. That same day a 
number of Turks came from the city and kidnapped our little 
girls. Towards evening again we went on^ still crpng ; more 
Turks came to carry off our girls and young brides, and would 
not let us even open our mouths to protest. Then we left all 
our cattle and everything we had, to save our honour and our 
lives. It was already night when the Turks from Diyarbekir 
attacked us three times and carried off the girls and young brides 
who had fallen behind. After this we lost all sense of time. 
The next morning again the gendarmes searched us all over, 
and then made us march six hours. During these six hours 
we found no drinking water, and many women sank on the way 
from thirst and hunger. The third day after that they robbed 
us, and violated us near a place where there was water. Some 
days after, two Turks dressed in white coats followed us, and, 
every time they had a chance, carried off still more of our girls. 
The wife of CS. Effendi from C. had three daughters, one of 
whom was married. A coloured gendarme who was with us 
wanted to take these girls. The mother resisted, and was 
thrown over a bridge by one of the Turks. The poor woman 
broke her arm, but her mule-driver dragged her up again. Again 
the same Turks threw her down, with one of her daughters, from 
the top of the mountain. The moment the married daughter 
saw her mother and sister thrown down, she thrust the baby 
in her arms upon another woman, ran after them crying " Mother, 
mother ! " and threw herself down the same precipice. Some 
said that one of the Turkish officers went down after them and 
finished them off. After that Mrs. CS.'s remaining daughter and I 
disguised ourselves, and, each taking a child in our arms, 
abandoned everything and walked to Mardin. There our party 
joined us again. We stayed there eight days. There was an 
artificial lake there, and every night they opened the sluices and 
flooded the ground, so that in the panic they might kidnap some of 
the girls. They also attacked us every night and kidnapped 
little children. At last, one evening, they drove us on again 
and left us among the mountains. They wounded a woman 
because she did not wish to give up her daughter. W^hen^they 
were going to carry off another girl, I asked CT. Tchaoush, a 
Mardin man, to help us.. He stopped them at once, and did 

[68] 



ARMENIAN VICTIM. 



275 



not let them take her away. He told us to stay there and not 
to start until further notice. The Kurds from the surrounding 
villages attacked us that night. CT. Tchaoush, who was in 
charge of us, immediately went up on to the heights and harangued 
them in Kurdish, telling them not to attack us. We were hungry 
and thirsty, and had no water to drink. CT. took some of our 
vessels and brought us water from a long way off. The wife 
of my brother-in-law, the tailor CU., had a baby born that night. 
The next morning we started again. CT. left some w^omen with 
her and kept an eye on her from a distance. Then he put the 
mother and the new-born child on a beast, and brought her to 
us in safety. Again we marched six hours without water. Here 
a Turk kidnapped the son of the woman wlio had been thrown 
down the mountain side. Finally, in the last stages of hunger 
and exhaustion, we reached Viran Shehr. Many had already 
been left on the road. 

We had nothing more to eat until we reached Ras-ul-Ain. 
A fourth part of our convoy had already perished of starvation. 
Just before reaching Ras-ul-Ain we marched through the whole 
of one night. We passed three wells choked with corpses up 
to the brim. The women that went before us encountered three 
wounded women who crawled out of these wells and asked for 
bread. These three women went on in our company towards 
Ras-ul-Ain. Two of them died on the way, and the third was sent to 
Der-el-Zor with the convoy. It was here that CV., the sister of 
CW., a girl about 18 or 19 years old, fell down because she could not 
walk any further. Her mother and sister-in-law kissed her, crying, 
and left her. We were forced to leave her by herself, because 
the soldiers would not let any one stay behind with her. 

We did not see a single Armenian until we reached Ras-ul-Ain. 
There we found many deported Armenians who had come from 
Erzeroum, Egin, Keghi, and other places. They were all on 
their way to Der-el-Zor. At Ras-ul-Ain Ave suddenly met CX. 
Agha of H. He had come from Aleppo to help us. He wanted 
to save at least a few of the party and take them to Aleppo. 
He advised us to go to the house of CY. Bey, a Circassian, 
or to the house of his son-in-law, so that he might convey us into 
safety from there. At Ras-ul-Ain a great many of the Armenians 
found refuge in the houses of some Tchetchens (a tribe akin to 
the Circassians), but afterwards the Government removed them all 
from the Tchetchens' houses to deport them to Der-el-Zor. Only 
my batch, consisting of forty-one people, were left in the house of 
this CY. Bey, and we were safe here because the Bey and his friends 
were Government people. The first moment that we saw CX. 
Agha we thought we had seen an angel from Heaven, and cried 
to him : " CX. Agha, save us." When the Tchetchens heard 
his name, they discovered that he was an Armenian, and immedi- 
ately attacked him. He was almost killed, but withstood them 
by his bravery and address ; he told them that he had been sent 

[68] 



276 



TOWN OF C. 



there specially by the Government, and turning immediately to 
us, he gave us to understand that those who went to CY. Bey's 
house would be saved. 

ex. Agha took the next train and returned to Aleppo. He 
tried every means to save us, and after fifteen days he came 
back. The Circassians (or Tchetchens) endeavoured to force 
us to become Moslems, but we answered them : We will throw 
ourselves into the water and die, but we will not become Moslems." 
The Tchetchens were surprised at these words, and said they had 
never seen people like this, so zealous for their honour and their 
religion and so devoted to each other. CX. Agha found this 
out and went to the chief of the Tchetchens ; he bribed him, and 
then, with superb courage, conducted us to the railway one by 
one, the station being about two miles from where we were. It was 
Saturday evening when we reached Aleppo. Here for the first 
time we met some Armenian soldiers, who were almost crazy 
with joy when they saw us. We could hardly believe they were 
Armenians, until CX. Agha's father came after dark with some 
of these soldiers, carrying no lights, and took us to the Armenian 
Church. There they told us that if the Government should 
discover us and inquire how we came, we were to tell them that 
we had travelled at our own expense. They immediately brought 
us bread ; we had not eaten anything for twenty-four hours. 
There were a number of deported Armenians in the Church ; 
they came from different places and had been traveUing for 
four months. They were so exhausted that about forty of them 
were dying every day. The priest who performed the ceremony 
could not drag himself home. From the deported Armenians 
in Aleppo we learned that the husbands of many of the women 
had been roped together and taken to Sheitan Deressi (Devil's 
Valley)*, where they were slaughtered with axes and knives. 
Here we gave up all hope of seeing our husbands again, being 
convinced that they were all killed. We heard that in some 
places they made the Armenians dig their own graves before 
they killed them. An Armenian soldier from Tchemesh-Getzak 
told me that the Turks were kilHng the Armenians and throwing 
them into the Euphrates, when six of them managed to cross 
the river and get away, after three days' journey through country 
littered with corpses. 

On Sunday morning I went to see the American Consul at 
Aleppo, and asked him to save me, as I was an American citizen. 
He asked me where my papers were. I told him they were 
taken from me on the way ; I told him all the circumstances, 
and he promised to help me. I went to him again the next day 
and told him how my parents were American citizens, and my 
husband also, and how my husband had Hved in America for 
18 years ; I told him he could prove it by asking the American 
Consul at H. or even the Washington Government. After five 

* See Doc. 9, page 21. 
[68] 



ARMENIAN VICTIM. 



211 



days had passed, he sent for me and made me tell my story in 
the Turkish language. He put my name in his book, and placed 
me in his kavass's house. Then he gave me a passport and sent 
me to Alexandretta in the company of some Russian subjects. 
We stayed fifteen days in Alexandretta. From there we reached 
Alexandria on board the American cruiser Chester," on the 
22nd September, 1915. 

While I was in Ras-ul-Ain, we saw some Armenian girls in 
the houses of some Tchetchens. One of them was married 
to one of the Tchetchens. They begged us not to forget them 
if we were ever saved. J. Agha's wife and children reached 
Ras-ul-Ain. A Kurd came and said to them : "I am from the 
village of Karer ; you come with me, and I will take you to Karer 
until the end of the war." They believed him, and went to his 
house. Afterwards CX. Agha tried to save them, but they had 
already gone. H. Agha's wife and three daughters went to 
Der-el-Zor. 

The Turkish Government did not provide any food for us 
on the way ; one day only, at Diyarbekir, they gave us one loaf 
each, and again for about eight days at Mardin, but the bread 
was so hard that it cut our mouths. The son of Prof. B., his 
married daughter, and his future daughter-in-law, as well as 
the wife and two daughters of Mr. CZ., reached Aleppo in safety. 
CC. Agha's daughter and his little boy were kidnapped by the 
Turks. Only two of the boys were left with the mother, who 
reached Aleppo safely. Besides the gendarmes, Kurdish irregulars 
also followed us on the way, to kill those that were left behind. 
The clothes of those who underwent this deportation were all 
rotted by the end of the journey, and the exiles themselves had 
almost lost their reason. When they were given new clothes 
they did not know how to put them on, and when their hair was 
washed it came off bodily from their scalps. 



[68] 



278 



TOWN OF H. 



69. H. : STATEMENT BY THE PRINCIPAL OF THE COLLEGE, 
DATED 19th JULY, 1915 ; COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN 
COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF. 

I shall try to banish from my mind for the time the sense 
of great personal sorrow at losing hundreds of my friends here, 
and also my sense of utter defeat in being so unable to stop the 
awful tragedy or even mitigate to any degree its severity, and 
compel myself to give you concisely some of the cold facts of 
the past months, as they relate themselves to the College. I do 
so with the hope that the possession of these concrete facts may 
help you to do something there for the handful of dependants 
still left to us here. 

Buildings. — Seven of our big buildings are in the hands of 
the Government, only one remaining in our hands. The seven 
buildings in question are empty, except for twenty guards who 
are stationed there. I cannot tell you exactly the amount of 
loss we have sustained in money by robberies, breakages and 
other means, and there is no sign that the Turks will ever return 
these buildings to us. 

Constituency. — Approximately two-thirds of the girl pupils 
and six-sevenths of the boys have been taken away to death, 
exile or Moslem homes. 

Professors. — Four gone, three left, as follows : — 
Professor A. — Served College 35 years ; representative of the 
Americans with the Government, Protestant " Askabed," Pro- 
fessor of Turkish and History. Besides previous trouble, arrested 
May 1st without charge ; hair of head, moustache and beard 
pulled out, in vain effort to secure damaging confessions ; starved 
and hung by arms for a day and a night, and severely beaten 
several times ; taken out towards Diyarbekir about June 20th, 
and murdered in general massacre on the road. 

Professor B. — Served College 33 years, studied at Ann Arbor, 
Professor of Mathematics. Arrested about June 5th, and shared 
Prof. A.'s fate on the road. 

Professor C. — Taken to witness a man beaten almost to 
death ; became mentally deranged ; started with his family 
about July 5th into exile under guard, and murdered beyond 
Malatia. Principal of Preparatory Department ; studied at 
Princeton ; served College 20 years. 

Professor D. — Served College 16 years, studied at Edinburgh ; 
Professor of Mental and Moral Science. Arrested with Prof. A. 
and suffered same tortures ; also had three finger nails pulled 
out by the roots ; killed in same massacre. 

Professor E. — Served College 25 years. Arrested May 1st ; 
not tortured, but sick in prison ; sent to Red Crescent Hospital, 
and after paying large bribes is now free. 

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PRINCIPAL OF THE COLLEGE. 



279 



Professor F. — Served College for over 15 years, studied 
in Stuttgart and Berlin, Professor of Music. Escaped arrest 
and torture, and thus far escaped exile and death, because of 
favour with the Kaimakam secured by personal services rendered. 

Professor G. — Served College about 15 years, studied at 
Cornell and Yale (M.S.), Professor of Biology. Arrested about 
June 5th, beaten about the hands, body and head with a stick 
by the Kaimakam himself, who, when tired, called on aU who 
loved rehgion and the nation to continue the beating ; after a 
period of insensibihty in a dark closet, taken to the Red Crescent 
Hospital with a broken finger and serious bruises. Now free. 

Instructors i Male. — Four reported killed on the road in various 
massacres, whose average term of service is eight years. 

Three not heard from, probably killed on the road ; average 
term of service in the College, four years. 

Two sick in the American Hospital. 

One elsewhere. 

One, engaged in cabinet work for^the Kaimakam, free. 
One, owner of house occupied by the Kaimakam, free. 

Instructors, Female. — One reported killed in F. ; served the 
College over 20 years. 

One reported taken to a Turkish harem. 
Three not heard from. 
Four started out as exiles. 
Ten free. 

Total Loss. — About seven-eighths of the buildings, three- 
quarters of the students, and half the teaching staff. 

Of the Armenian people as a whole we may estimate that 
three-fourths are gone, and this three-fourths includes the leaders 
in every walk of Ufe — merchants, professional men, preachers, 
bishops and government officials. And there is no certainty for 
those who are just now free. The VaH has said that all must go. 
It is only temporary measures, such as bribes or special favours, 
that have secured postponement. Since we know the fate to 
which they go, since we have seen the pitiable plight of the 
stragglers who have survived the journey from Erzindjan and 
Erzeroum, since we find ourselves forbidden to aid them except 
in insignificant ways, and since we are forbidden to accompany 
them to aid them on the way, we are the more eager, if possible, 
to save those who are left with us. 

It seems to us possible that something can be done to save 
these few. Permission has recently been obtained through the 
German Embassy for those connected with the German Mission, 
teachers and their famihes, orphans and servants, a circle of 
several hundred, to remain in G. I therefore beg of you to take 
what steps are possible to secure the permission through our 
Ambassador for the handful of dependants still with us to remain 
in H. 



[69] 



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280 



TOWN OF H. PRINCIPAL OF THE COLLEGE. 



If such permission is not secured, we shall probably be called 
upon to see the very members of our households dragged off 
to decorate the harems of those who have not as yet secured as 
many girl slaves as they wish. Nothing can be done locally. 
The Kaimakam and his coterie in H. are more powerful here than 
the Vali, and take pleasure in flaunting our impotence in our 
faces. 

I have said enough. Our hearts are sick with these sights 
and stories of abject terror and suffering. The extermination 
of the race seems to be the objective, and the means employed 
are more fiendish than could be concocted locally. The orders 
are from headquarters, and any reprieve must be from the same 
source. 



VILLAGES NEAR H. PRINCIPAL OF COLLEGE. 



281 



70. H. : STATEMENT BY THE PRINCIPAL OF THE COLLEGE, DATED 
19th JULY, 1915, RELATING TO THE DEPORTATION OF 
ARMENIANS FROM VILLAGES IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF H. ; 
COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR 
ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF. 

From the village of E., 212 individuals set out, of whom 128 
(60 per cent.) reached Aleppo alive ; 56 men and 11 women were 
killed on the road, 3 girls and 9 boys were sold or kidnapped, 
and 5 people were missing. 

From the same place another party of 696 people were 
deported ; 321 (46 per cent.) reached Aleppo ; 206 men and 57 
women were killed en route ; 70 girls and young women and 
19 boys were sold ; 23 were missing. 

From the village of D. a party of 128 were deported, of whom 
32 (25 per cent.) reached Aleppo alive ; 24 men and 12 women 
were killed en route ; 29 girls and young women and 13 boys 
were sold ; and 18 were missing. 



[70] 



X2 



282 



TOWN OF H. 



71. H. : LETTER DATED 10th NOVEMBER, 1915, FROM THE 
PfllNCIPAL OF THE COLLEGE AT H. TO MR. N. AT CON- 
STANTINOPLE ; COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COM- 
MITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF. 

The difficulty of securing local permission to start out for 
America, as well as the scarcity of wagons, has delayed our party 
for some days. We have been grateful, in the meantime, that 
we have heard from you approving our plans. We hope to start 
in a day or two. We do not anticipate the journey with rehsh, 
but we feel that it will be better to go now than to wait. I am 
apprehensive for those who stay, though nothing definite threatens 
citizens of our country at present. 

Following your circulars of information as to the attitude 
of the authorities at the capital, we opened our girls' department 
two weeks ago, and planned soon to open the boys' department 
also. The registration of the girls reached about 150, of which 
number about one-third are in the kindergarten. More than 
another third are boarders, mostly those who have been with us 
from the time school closed. There are very few day-pupils 
above primary age. 

Last Thursday afternoon, the 4th November, a raid was sud- 
denly made on the Armenian population. Men, women and 
children were arrested that afternoon in G. and taken to the pohce 
station. The next morning the same thing occurred here in H. Most 
of those arrested in H. were women and children, and they were 
nearly all of them released the same day, when they showed 
their papers. In G., however, many were kept over a day or 
tAvo and then sent off on the road, probably to be butchered as 
other parties had been. The season is now so late that it is pre- 
posterous to suppose a safe journey to be possible when the 
exiles are allowed no preparation whatever. By far the largest 
number sent off seem to have been from the villages, where the 
people were pretty well cleared out. Estimates run as high as 
a thousand for those who were sent off in one night. 

The panic resulting from this wholly unexpected raid can 
hardly be pictured. Those pupils who were coming to us from 
outside have stopped coming pretty largely, and many advise 
us to close the school. Those exiles who had managed in various 
ways to escape from the convoys and had settled down to normal 
life, are now plunged in terror. We have had to guard our gates 
and walls to prevent the public from pouring in on us. 

During this recent event the Government has turned its 
attention to us once more. On Friday the poUce came, with 
a sufficient force, to arrest all the men on our premises. They 
were poHte, but expressed the belief that we were hiding many. 
I went with the handful of men and boys available, and the 
next day my brother presented those who were not in evidence 
that day, and they were all sent back to our premises safely. 
The Commandant personally asked the Consul to write to us 

[71] 



PRINCIPAL OF THE COLLEGE. 



283 



and warn us against harbouring any fugitives in our grounds. 
We assured him that it had been our settled policy all along 
to refuse such requests, and that we had no such persons with 
us. The Kaimakam refused to beUeve that we had no fugitives 
with us, but I think he has been persuaded more or less of the 
truth of this. Two of our teachers, who live in their own houses 
off from our compound, did not appear on Friday before the 
poHce. Afterwards, when they found that the others had been 
released, they also appeared. They were then put in prison, 
where they still remain. One of them, I hope, will soon be 
released, but I have fears for the other, because he was so inti- 
mately connected with the former Kaimakam, and there seems to be 
evidence against him that he was a tool in securing bribes for 
the ^aid Kaimakam — of course under fear of death. 

We have had frequent interviews with the Kaimakam and 
the Commandant, who is locum tenens for the Vali at present. 
Both of them have been courteous, and assure us that there 
are no further measures in store for those who have been allowed 
to stay by order of the Government. But our faith in such 
promises has been sadly shaken this summer. At two different 
times the Kaimakam has said that Armenian was no more to 
be taught in our schools. We have expressed our desire to 
make the language of the school English, and have assured him 
that we are working to that end. 

As I wrote to you, our curriculum has been submitted to the 
Mearif, and has been largely approved verbally. We are still 
in correspondence over some minor details regarding texts. We 
shall not be able to open work for the few boys who are available 
at the present, and I confess my deep apprehension lest they 
and their male teachers should all be rounded up, to go the same 
road that their comrades followed in July. 

It is hard for us to leave just at this juncture. Yet there 
seems no advantage in our staying compared with the difficulties 
of leaving later. We shall try to keep you informed of our 
curriculum. 



VIII. 



VILAYET OF TREBIZOND, AND SANDJAK OF 
SHABIN KARA-HISSAR. 

The Vilayet of Trehizond lies between Erzeroum and the Black 
Sea, and consists of a long, narrow littoral, shut off from its hinterland 
by a wall of mountains on the south. The town of Shabin Kara- 
Hissar is situated about seventy miles west of Baibourt, near the 
upper course of the Kelhid Irmak. 

The population of this region is very mixed. The substratum 
is Lazic (a Caucasian race) and Greek ; but advanced guards of 
the Kurdish migration have penetrated into the mountains over- 
looking the coast, while the towns and ports have been occupied, 
since the Ottoman conquest in the fifteenth century, by large colonies 
of Armenians and Turks, who lived there peaceably side by side 
for four centuries — until June, 1915. 

The deportations began in the last week of that month. Their 
nominal destination was the same as that of the convoys from the 
Vilayet of Erzeroum, but in this case there seems never to have 
been any intention of conducting the Armenians alive to their 
journey's end. At Trebizond, a number of them were herded on 
to boats and drowned in the open sea. Such convoys as started 
by land were massacred within a day's journey of the city, and their 
fate was shared by the convoys from Kerasond. The Armenians 
of Shabin Kara-Hissar took warning, and resisted the Government's 
decree. Troops were sent against them, and every Armenian in 
the town and district was put to the sword. 



286 



TREBIZOND. 



72. TREBIZOND : REPORT FROM A FOREIGN RESIDENT AT 
TREBIZOND, COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE 
FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF. 

Passages included between brackets are inserted from the version 
of the same document published in the brochure " Quelques Docu- 
ments sur le Sort des Armeniens, 1915 " (Geneva, 1915). 

On Saturday, the 26th June, the proclamation regarding the 
deportation of all Armenians was posted in the streets. On 
Thursday, the 1st July, all the streets were guarded by gendarmes 
with fixed bayonets, and the work of driving the Armenians from 
their homes began. Groups of men, women and children, with 
loads and bundles on their backs, were collected in a short cross- 
street near my residence, and when a hundred or so had been 
gathered, they were driven past my residence on the road toward 

, in the heat and dust, by gendarmes with fixed bayonets. 

They were held outside the city until a group of about 2,000 had 
been collected, and then sent on. Three such groups, making 
about 6,000 altogether, were sent from here during the first three 

days ; and smaller groups from and the vicinity, sent later, 

amounted to about 4,000 more. 

The weeping and wailing of the women and children was most 
heart-rending. Some of these people were from wealthy and 
refined circles. Some were accustomed to luxury and ease. 
There were clergymen, merchants, bankers, lawyers, mechanics, 
tailors, and men from every walk of life. The Governor-General 
told me that they were allowed to make arrangements for carriages, 
but nobody seemed to be making any arrangements. I know 
of one wealthy merchant, however, who paid £15 Turkish (about 

£13 10s. sterling) for a carriage to take himself and wife to , 

and when he arrived at the station where they were being col- 
lected, at , about ten minutes' distance from the city, they were 

commanded by the gendarmes to leave the carriage, which was 
sent back to the city. 

The whole Mohammedan population knew that these people 
were to be their prey from the beginning, and they were treated 
as criminals. In the first place, from the date of the proclama- 
tion, the 25th June, no Armenian was allowed to sell anything, 
and everybody was forbidden, under penalty, to buy anything 
from them. How, then, were they to provide funds for the 
journey ? For six or eight months there has been no business 
whatever in Trebizond, and people have been eating up their 
capital. Why should they have been prohibited from selling 
rugs or anything they had to sell, to secure the needed money for 
the journey ? Many persons who had goods which they could 
have sold if they had been allowed to do so, were obliged to start 
off on foot without funds and with what they could gather up 
from their homes and carry on their backs. Such persons natur- 

[72] 



FOREIGN RESIDENT. 



287 



ally soon became so weak that they fell behind and were bayoneted 
and thrown into the river, and their bodies floated down past 
Trebizond to the sea, or lodged in the shallow river on rocks, 
where they remained for ten or twelve days and putrefied, to the 
disgust of travellers who were obhged to pass that way. I have 
talked with eye-witnesses, who state that there were many naked 
bodies to be seen on snags in the river fifteen days after the affair 
occurred, and that the smell was something terrible. 

On the 17th July, while I was out on a ride with a German 
resident, we came across three Turks digging a grave in the sand 
for a naked body which we saw in the river near by. The corpse 
looked as though it had been in the water for ten days or more. 
The Turks said they had just buried four more further up the 
river. Another Turk told us that a body had floated down the 
river and out into the sea a few moments before we arrived. 

By the 6th July (Tuesday) all the Armenian houses in Trebizond, 
about 1,000, had been emptied of their inhabitants and the people 
sent off. There was no inquiry as to who were guilty or who 
were innocent of any movement against the Government. If a 
person was an Armenian, that was sufficient reason for his being 
treated as a criminal and deported. At first all were to go except 
the sick, who were taken to the municipal hospital until they 
were well enough to go. Later, an exception was made for old 
men and women, pregnant women, children, those in Govern- 
ment employment and members of the Roman Catholic Church. 
Finally it was decided that the old men and women and the 
Catholics must go too, and they were sent along towards the 
last. A number of lighters have been loaded with people at 
different times and sent off towards <Samsoun> . It is generally 
believed that such persons were drowned. During the early 
days, before the deportation commenced, a large caique or lighter 
was loaded with men supposed to be members of the Armenian 
Committee, and sent off towards <Samsoun> . Two days later, 
<a certain Vartan,> a Russian subject, who had been one of those 
who started in the boat, returned overland to Trebizond, badly 
wounded about the head and so crazy that he could not make 
himself understood. Alh he could say was "Boom, boom.*' 
He was"arrested by the authorities and taken to the municipal 
hospital, where he died the following day. A Turk said that this 
boat was met not far from Trebizond by another boat containing 
gendarmes, who proceeded to kill all the men and throw them 
overboard. They thought they had killed them all, but this 
Russian, who was big and powerful, was only wounded and 
swam ashore unnoticed. A number of such caiques have left 
Trebizond loaded with men, and usually they return empty after 
a few hours. 

Totz, a village about two hours from Trebizond, is inhabited 
by Gregorian and Catholic Armenians and Turks. Here, accord- 
ing to a reJial?!© witness, a wealthy and influential Armenian^ 

[72] 



288 



TREBIZOND. 



<Boghos Marimian,> and his two sons were placed one behind 
the other and shot through. Forty -five men and women were 
taken a short distance from the village into a valley. <The wife 
and daughters of an Armenian named Artes> * were first outraged 
by the officers of the gendarmerie, and then turned over to the 
gendarmes to dispose of. According to this witness, a child was 
killed by beating its brains out on a rock. The men were all 
killed, and not a single person survived from this batch of forty- 
five. 

The plan to save the children by placing them in schools or 
orphanages in Trebizond, under the care of a committee organized 
and supported by the Greek Archbishop, of which the Vali was 
president and the Archbishop vice-president, with three Moham- 
medan and three Christian members, has been abandoned, and 
the girls are now being given exclusively to Mohammedan families 
and thus scattered! . The suppression of the orphanages and the 
scattering of the children was a great disappointment to us and 
to the Greek Archbishop, who had worked hard for the plan and 
secured the support of the Vali ; but <Nail Bey,> the local head of 
the Committee of Union and Progress, who was opposed to the 
plan, succeeded in thwarting it very quickly. Many of the boys 

appear to have been sent to , to be distributed among the 

farmers. The best looking of the older girls, who were retained 
as caretakers in these orphanages, are kept in houses for the 
pleasure of members of the gang which seems to rule affairs here. 
I hear on good authority that a member of the Committee of 
Union and Progress here has ten of the handsomest girls in a house 
in the central part of the city, for the use of himself and his friends. 
Some of the younger girls have been taken into respectable 
Mohammedan houses. Several of the former pupils of the 
American Mission are now in Mohammedan homes near the 
Mission, and have not been visited by <Nail Bey,> but of course 
the majority of them are not so fortunate. 

The 1,000 Armenian houses are being emptied of furniture 
by the police one after the other. The furniture, bedding and 
everything of value is being stored in large buildings about the 
city. There is no attempt at classification, and the idea of keeping 
the property in ''bales under the protection of the Government, 
to be returned to the owners on their return," is simply ridiculous. 
The goods are piled in without any attempt at labelling or 

* " The women." — American version. 

t The origination of this plan is recorded in an earlier {undated) report 
from the same hand, from which the following sentences are a quotation : — 

*' The children attending the American school conducted by , 

also those children left with them by persons being deported, have all been 
taken and placed in a school organised by a local committee, of which the 
Vali is' president and the Greek Metropolitan vice-president. Into this 
schoorall the Armenian children, females up to fifteen years and males to 
ten years of age, are being placed as soon as the parents are sent off. 
Ciiildren abov^ these ages go with their parents." 

F2] 



FOREIGN RESIDENT. 



289 



systematic storage. A crowd of Turkish women and children 
follow the police about like a lot of vultures, and seize anything 
they can lay their hands on, and when the more valuable things 
are carried out of a house by the police, they rush in and take 
the balance. I see this performance every day with my own 
eyes. I suppose it will take several weeks to empty all the houses, 
and then the Armenian shops and stores will be cleared out. The 
commission which has this matter in hand is now talking of 
selling this great collection of household goods and properties, 
in order to pay the debts of the Armenians. The German Consul 
told me that he did not believe the Armenians would be permitted 
to return to Trebizond, even after the end of the war. 

<Arab merchants, under British protection, were included 
in the deportation, as well as all Armenians with Russian, Persian 
or Bulgarian passports. Ovhannes Arabian, the Dragoman of 
the British Consulate, could take nothing with him but the 
clothes he stood in.> 

I have just been talking with a young man who has been 
performing his 'military service on the " inshaat tabouri " (con- 
struction regiment), working on the roads out toward Gumush- 
khane. He told me that 15 days ago all the Armenians, about 180, 
were separated from the other workmen, marched off some 
distance from the camp and shot. He heard the report of the 
rifles and later was one of the number sent to bury the bodies, 
which he stated were all naked, having been stripped of clothing. 

A number of bodies of women and children have lately been 
thrown up by the sea uponTthe sandy beach below the walls of 
the Italian Monastery here in Trebizond, and were buried by 
Greek women in the sand where they were found. 



[72] 



290 



TREBIZOND. 



73. TREBIZOND : EXTRACTS FROM AN INTERVIEW WITH COMM. 
G. GORRINI. LATE ITALIAN CONSUL-GENERAL AT TREBI- 
ZOND*, PUBLISHED IN THE JOURNAL " IL MESSAGGERO," 
OF ROME, 25th AUGUST, 1915. 

For over four years I was Consul-General at Trebizond, \vith 
jurisdiction over practically the whole Black Sea littoral, from 
the Russo-Turkish frontier to the neighbourhood of Constantinople, 
and over five provinces in the interior of Asia Minor (Eastern 
Anatolia, Armenia and Kurdistan) — districts chiefly inhabited by 
Turks, Armenians and Kurds, with a considerable sprinkling 
of Persians, Russians, Greeks and Arabs. For the last ten 
months, moreover, I had also been responsible for the protection 
of the very numerous Russian subjects and Russian interests, 
as well as the Greek and Montenegrin, and also, to some extent, 
the French, the English, and the American, with others of minor 
account. . . . 

As for the present internal condition of the Ottoman Empire, 
I can only answer for my own district. In my district the 
present condition of things is almost desperate. The population 
is showing true Moslem resignation in the way it is bearing the 
existing situation — the ruin and desolation of individuals and 
community, the holocaust of all and everything for a war which 
no one desired, but which was forced upon them by Enver Pasha, 
and which will lead to the ruin and dismemberment of all that 
still remains of the Ottoman Empire. But the Moslem and 
Christian populations can do nothing more — they have reached 
the extreme limit of their effort. The oxygen is being administered 
by the Germans, who are trying to prolong the agony of the 
dying Empire, but will not be able to perform the miracle of 
restoring life to a corpse. Apart from a few lunatics, a speedy 
peace, even if it involves the foreign occupation of Ottoman 
territory, is the prayer of all. There is no courage for 'a rebellion. 
The Germans and the "Committee of Union and Progress " 
are hated and detested by all, but only in the intimacy of the 
heart and in confidential conversation, for the Germans and the 
Committee constitute the one genuine, solid organisation ''at 
present existing in Turkey — a masterly and most rigorous 
organisation, which does not hesitate to use any weapon whatever ; 
an organisation of audacity, of terror, and of mysterious, ferocious 
revenge. . . . 

* Signer Gorrini left Trebizond on the 23rd July, 1915, in the interval 
between the Italian declarations of war against Austria-Hungary and 
against Turkey. He hired an open motor-launch with a Laric skipper and 
crew, and took with him two servants and the Montenegrin Kavass of the 
local branch of the Ottoman Bank. The coastwise voyage from Trebizond 
to Constantinople took seven days and nights. They touched at Kerasond, 
Samsoun, Sinope, Ineboli, Kidros, Zonguldak, Zacharia, Chil6 and Faro 
d 'Anatolia, without landing, however, at any of these places. From 
Constantinople Signor Gk)rrini travelled via Dedeagatch and Palermo to 
Koixie.where he gave this interview to the representative of " II Messaggero. " 

[731 



ITALIAN CONSUL-GENERAL, 



291 



As for the Armenians, they were treated differently in the 
different vilayets. They were suspect and spied upon every- 
where, but they suffered a real extermination, worse than 
massacre, in the so-called " Armenian Vilayets." There are seven 
of these, and five of them (iiKiluding the most important and 
most thickly populated) unhappily for me formed part of my own 
Consular jurisdiction. These were the Vilayets of Trebizond, 
Erzeroum, Van, Bitlis and Sivas, 

In my district, from the 24th June onwardS; the Armenians 
were all " interned " — that is, ejected by force from their various 
residences and despatched under the guard of the gendarmerie 
to distant, unknown destinations, which for a few will mean 
the interior of Mesopotamia, but for four-fifths of them has meant 
already a death accompanied by unheard-of cruelties. 

The official proclamation of internment came from Con- 
stantinople. It is the work of the Central Government and 
the " Committee of Union and Progress." The local authorities, 
and indeed the Moslem population in general, tried to resist, 
to mitigate it, to make omissions, to hush it up. But the orders 
of the Central Government were categorically confirmed, and 
all were compelled to resign themselves and obey. 

The Consular Body intervened, and attempted to save at 
least the women and children. We did, in fact, secure numerous 
exemptions, but these were not subsequently respected, owing 
to the interference of the local branch of the " Union and Progress 
Committee " and to fresh orders from Constantinople. 

It was a real extermination and slaughter of the innocents, 
an unheard-of thing, a black page stained with the flagrant 
violation of the most sacred rights of humanity, of Christianity, 
of nationality. The Armenian Catholics, too, who in the past 
had always been respected and excepted from the massacres 
and persecutions, were this time treated worse than any — again 
by the orders of the Central Government. There were about 
14,000 Armenians at Trebizond — Gregorians, Catholics, and 
Protestants. They had never caused disorders or given occasion 
for collective measures of police. When I left Trebizond, not 
a hundred of them remained. 

From the 24th June, the date of the publication of the infamous 
decree, until the 23rd July, the date of my own departure from 
Trebizond, I no longer slept or ate ; I was given over to nerves 
and nausea, so terrible was the torment of having to look on at 
the wholesale execution of these defenceless, innocent creatures. 

The passing of the gangs of Armenian exiles beneath the 
windows and before the door of the Consulate ; their prayers 
for help, when neither I nor any other could do anything to 
answer them ; the city in a state of siege, guarded at every point 
by 15,000 troops in complete war equipment, by thousands of 
police agents, by bands of volunteers and by the members of 
the " Committee of Union and Progress " ; the lamentations, the 

[73] 



292 



TREBIZOND. ITALIAN CONSUL-GENERAL. 



tears, the abandonments, the imprecations, the many suicides, 
the instantaneous deaths from sheer terror, the sudden 
unhingeing of men's reason, the conflagrations, the shooting of 
victims in the city, the ruthless searches through the houses 
and in the countryside ; the hundreds of corpses found every 
day along the exile road ; the young women converted by force 
to Islam or exiled like the rest ; the children torn away from 
their families or from the Christian schools, and handed over 
by force to Moslem famihes, or else placed by hundreds on board 
ship in nothing but their shirts, and then capsized and drowned 
in the Black Sea and the River Deyirmen Dere^ — these are my last 
ineffaceable memories of Trebizond, memories which still, at a 
month's distance, torment my soul and almost drive me frantic. 
When one has had to look on for a whole month at such horrors, 
at such protracted tortures, with absolutely no power of acting 
as one longed to act, the question naturally and spontaneously 
suggests itself, whether all the cannibals and all the wild beasts 
in the world have not left their hiding places and retreats, left 
the virgin forests of Africa, Asia, America and Oceania, to make 
their rendezvous at Stamboul. I should prefer to close our 
interview at this point, with the solemn asseveration that this 
black page in Turkey's history calls for the most uncompromising 
reproach and for the vengeance of all Christendom. If they knew 
all the things that I know, all that I have had to see with my 
eyes and hear with my ears, all Christian powers that are still 
neutral would be impelled to rise up against Turkey and cry 
anathema against her inhuman Government and her ferocious 
" Committee of Union and Progress," and they would extend 
the responsibility to Turkey's Alhes, who tolerate or even shield 
with their strong arm these execrable crimes, which have not 
their equal in history, either modern or ancient. Shame, horror 
and disgrace ! 



[73] 



TREBIZOND. KA V ASS OF THE I TA LI A N CONS ULA TE. 293 



74. TREBIZOND : NARRATIVE OF THE MONTENEGRIN KAVASS 
OF THE LOCAL BRANCH OF THE OTTOMAN BANK, PUBLISHED 
IN THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL " AREV » OF ALEXANDRIA, 
2nd OCTOBER. 1915. 

The Kavass of the Local Branch of^the Ottoman Bank at 
Trebizond, a Montenegrin, who left Trebizond in Signor Gorrini's 
company* and is at the present moment in Cairo, has made the 
following statement to Mr. Malezian, Secretary of the General 
Armenian Union of Benevolence : — 

" The very evening of the day on which the order arrived 
from Constantinople, they threw into the sea about forty of the 
intellectuals and the members of political parties, saying to them : 
' You are to be sent into exile by the sea route.' 

" At the present moment there is not a single Armenian left 
at Trebizond except two employees of the Ottoman Bank, who 
will also be deported as soon as other persons arrive from Con- 
stantinople to take their place. 

" Children have been converted to Islam and handed over 
to Mohammedan famihes. Those who cry and do not keep quiet 
have their throats cut. 

" After the Armenians had gone, their houses were con- 
fiscated. 

"The whole thing was organized^ by the members of the 
Committee of Union and Progress. 

" The exiles were not allowed to take with them either money 
or clothes or provisions. Five hundred Armenian soldiers were 
disarmed, and then deported and massacred on the road. As 
for the other exiles, they must have been massacred without 
exception, for the news received from Djevizhk (a village six 
hours from Trebizond, on the one and only road leading to 
Gumushkhane) makes it certain that the exiles were seen passing 
that place in batches, while beyond Djevizhk no one has seen 
them pass. At the same time, the river Yel-Deyirmeni brought 
down every day to the sea a number of corpses, mutilated and 
absolutely naked, the women with their breasts cut off." 



* " I hired the motor launch for myself and three members of my house- 
hold, one of them a Montenegrin kavass who was under our protection." — 
Th» Italian Consul, Signor Gorrini, in the interview published in the Rome 
journal " // Messaggero," 25th August, 1915. 

[74] 



294 



KERASOND, TREBIZOND AND SHABIN KARA-HISSAR. 



75. KERASOND (KIRESOUN). TREBIZOND AND SHABIN KARA- 
HISSAR : EVIDENCE COLLECTED BY AN ARMENIAN GENTLE- 
MAN FROM EYE-WITNESSES NOW IN ROUMANLA ; COM- 
MUNICATED BY THE CORRESPONDENT OF THE LONDON 
" TIMES " AT BUKAREST. 

KerasoTid, — Much has been written lately about the 
Armenian massacres in Turkey, but it is only now that we are 
receiving more precise and detailed information, from eye- 
witnesses who, by some means or other, have escaped the scene 
of the most horrible atrocities ever known in this world. 

The atrocities of Kerasond are described by a prominent 
Greek of that town, who succeeded in obtaining a passage on 
board a Greek ship bound for Roumania with a cargo of nuts. 
On her voyage across the Black Sea, this ship was met by two 
Russian torpedo boats, which took on board the crew and this 
gentleman among them, sank the ship, transported the crew 
to Sevastopol, and there set them free. This gentleman had 
been an eye-witness of all that happened in Kerasond, and he 
describes the atrocities as follows : — 

"It is impossible to express in words the humihations and 
atrocities that the Armenians of Kerasond have had to undergo. 
One morning the Government announced, through the public 
crier, that every male Armenian, old or young, must immediately 
go to the Government Building, where an important communica- 
tion was to be made to them. Those who neglected to comply 
with this order were threatened with imprisonment. The 
Armenians obeyed, as there was no alternative in a town where 
they were in minority ; but as soon as they had arrived at the 
Government Building, they were surrounded by hundreds of 
gendarmes and driven straight to prison. At mid-day their 
families, seeing that nobody returned, collected together and 
went in a body to the Government Building. They demanded 
that their husbands should be set free. The gendarmes rephed 
with the bayonet, and dispersed the crowd, while those who 
still insisted in their protest were sent to join their husbands 
in prison. That night was passed by the poor Armenians in 
the prison, while all night long their famihes mourned and wept. 
I visited several Armenian neighbours and tried to calm them, 
but they were all convinced that they would never see their 
people again, as they had guessed latterly, from the attitude 
of the Turks, that some plot was being prepared against them. 
Next morning the prisoners were told that they were to be exiled 
to Kara-Hissar (a town inland from Kerasond) and that they 
were only to take with them provisions for five days. Their 
wives were notified of this, and in the afternoon, under the escort 
of hundreds of gen larmes, they were marched out of the prison 
on to the road leading to Kara-Hissar, and divided up into several 
separate batches. Several days passed, and then a few telegrams 
reached various famihes, signed by their husbands or brothers 

[75] 



REFUGEES IN ROUMANIA. 



295 



and announcing that they had arrived in safety at Kara-Hissar. 
But unfortunately these telegrams were merely forged by the 
Government in order to calm down those left behind, who had 
not yet ceased to demand the return of their dear ones. Their 
true fate was very different. A fortnight later, I met a friend who 
told me that he had given protection to a young Armenian who had 
escaped from the party of Armenians that were sent to Kara- 
Hissar, and that this young man gave horrible descriptions of 
their experiences. I went to see this young man at my friend's 
house. He was an honest business man in the town, so that I 
do not question for a moment the honesty of his declaration in the 
present case, which he made to the following effect : — 

Our party consisted of 350 men, mostly young fellows. 
The next day after our departure from Kerasond, we reached 
a spot on the banks of the River Kara Su. It was lunch time, 
and the gendarmes ordered us to stop and eat. We had just 
begun to do so when guns were fired on us from all sides, and 
I saw many fall dead. I was wounded myself in the arm and 
collapsed on my side from the pain. The firing continued, and 
I fainted. I only recovered consciousness to find myself in the 
river with hundreds of dead bodies floating round me. My wound 
did not prevent me from swimming, so that I struggled out of 
the river, and at night-fall walked back to the town. I was 
afraid to go to my family, so I asked shelter of my friend here ; 
but as my prolonged presence may bring him harm, I am going 
home to-night." 

In fact, the Government had announced that any Turk or 
Greek giving protection to an Armenian would be punished with 
death. So that night the young man went to his house ; but 
he was soon found out, and under the pretext of sending him to 
hospital for his wound they took him away and he has never 
been heard of since. 

This was the end of the male population. The women were 
dealt with in the same fashion. They were likewise herded by 
force into the prison, and marched under escort in batches along 
the same road leading to Kara-Hissar. They were not massacred, 
but treated with extreme brutality and forced to walk for long 
hours, so that many died of exhaustion, and many others com- 
mitted suicide by throwing themselves into the river with their 
children in their arms. Some went mad through inability to 
endure the brutalities and humiliations inflicted on them by the 
gendarmes and by the Turkish villagers they met on the way. 
The small children under three years of age were allowed to be 
carried along by their mothers, but the children between the ages 
of three and fifteen, both girls and boys, were all distributed among 
Mohammedan famiHes, with instructions to convert them to 
Islam. The Armenians* houses were sealed with the Govern- 
ment's seal, but it is clear that they were first stripped of their 
furniture and placed at the disposal of Turkish immigrants. 

[75] Y 



296 



KERASOND, TREBIZOND AND SHABIN KARA-HISSAR. 



This is the tragic history of the extermination of the 3,000 
Armenians of Kerasond. 

One old Armenian only escaped death by embracing the 
Mohammedan religion ; but that only served to save his own life, 
as his son and wife were sent off with the rest. 

Kara-Hissar is a town three days inland from Kerasond, 
Kerasond being its port. The Armenian population of this city, 
guessing the intentions of the Turks, took up their arms and 
fled into the mountains surrounding the town. The gendarmes 
and soldiers sent in their pursuit had several encounters with 
them, but they failed every time to drive them out of their moun- 
tain positions. In my opinion their positions are good and can 
resist attacks, but their supply of food may soon come to an 
end, and in their isolation they may starve, if no help reaches 
them*. 

Trebizond. — During the last massacres (1896) Trebizond 
suffered the most, and this time also it has been the scene of the 
most fiendish atrocities. These are described by a young 
Armenian girl who was an eye-witness of them. She was saved 
through the protection of the late Italian Consul at Trebizond, 
who was allowed to leave in a motor boat for Constantinoplef, 
whence he went to Italy and sent this girl to some relatives of 
hers in Roumania. She gives the following account of her 
experiences : — 

" In the morning my father, a Russian subject, was summoned 
by a gendarme and taken away to the Government Building. A 
few hours passed, and my mother went to find out what had 
happened to him. She did not return either, and, being thus 
left alone in the house, I went to our neighbour, the Italian Consul, 
and asked for his protection. He immediately disguised me as 
a servant girl in the Consulate. Every day I used to see hundreds 
of Armenians, men and women in separate batches, passing our 
house under escort — mothers carrying their children on one arm 
and a package of provisions on the other. That was all they 
were allowed to take. The Kavass of the Consulate used to 
come in every day and report to the Consul all that was going 
on in the town. Business was at a standstill, all the shops were 
closed, and you met nothing in the streets but Armenians escorted 
by gendarmes. Many young girls were forced to marry Moham- 
medans. All the children were collected and distributed to 
Turkish families to be brought up as Mohammedans. Several 
leading Armenians committed suicide by thromng themselves 
down from the windows of their houses. All the Armenians 
who were Russian subjects (there were forty-five of them) were 

* This was written before it was known that the Armenians of Kara- 
Hissar had been overwhelmed by force and massacred to the last woman 
and child, with their bishop at their head. — Editor. 

t " I hired the motor launch for myself and three members of my 
household". — Signer Gorrini in the Rome journal " II Messaggero," 25//? 
August, 1915. 

[75] 



REFUGEES IN ROU MANIA. 



297 



put on board a sailing ship bound for Kerasond, but on the way 
they were thrown into the sea and shot at by the gendarmes 
sent with them. This we verified later on, when the Consul 
was allowed to leave Trebizond in a motor boat, in which I 
accompanied him as servant girl. On the way a sailor on the 
launch, in answer to a question from the Consul, said that he 
had refused to take those forty-five Russian subjects in his sailing 
boat because he knew what fate was marked out for them on the 
way ; and, in fact, when we arrived at Kerasond, we discovered 
that not only had those forty-five people never arrived (though 
they were put on board the boat under the pretext that they were 
to be exiled to the districts inland from Kerasond), but that 
not a single Armenian was left in the town itself. We were told 
the same thing all along the coast — at Tireboli, Ordou, Samsoun, 
Ineboli, etc.* The wife of the late Secretary of the British 
Consulate at Trebizond (himself a British subject) was forced 
to marry a Turk; the rest of the family — the Secretary, his 
brothers, his uncles, etc., who were all British subjects too — were 
exiled to the interior of the country, and nothing has been heard 
of them since. Many women have offered to become Moham- 
medans but have been refused. Only one family in Tireboli, 
called A., obtained leave to remain by turning Mohammedan." 

This is confirmed by a telegram received lately by a gentleman 
in Constantinople, who has business connections with the family 
in question. The telegram was signed " A. Zade Mehmed Sirry." 

The plan of the Government has been the same everywhere 
— to convert the children to Islam, and to march the male and 
female population under escort into the interior of the country, 
until the last of them has dropped dead with exhaustion. As 
to their houses, the furniture was distributed among the officers 
and soldiers. Pianos, side-boards, and other objects too luxurious 
for soldiers* houses were sold by auction, where the best buyers, 
in many districts, were Jews, who considered the price of 
50 piastres too high for a piano, and tried to buy them at 
10-15 piastres. The houses thus emptied were given over to 
Turkish immigrants or paupers. The copper kitchen utensils, 
and, in fact, everything made of copper, were carefully packed, 
and sent, by different means, to Constantinople, where the 
Germans were anxiously waiting for them as their share of the 
plunder. 

It is only in Constantinople and Smyrna that the'' Armenians 
have not been exiled ; but that does not mean that they there 
escape their share of the general misfortune. Most of the leading 
Armenians there, including doctors, deputies, wholesale merchants, 
journalists, etc., were exiled to the interior, and nothing has 

* " Of the 200 Armenian families at Ordou, 160 have embraced Islam, 
under pressure of threats and violence. Of the 400 Armenian families 
at Kerasond, 200 have embraced Islam to escape persecution ; the rest 
have been deported." — New York Journal " Gotchnag," 2Sth August, 1915. 

[75] yi2 



298 Kerasond, Trebizond and Shabin Kara-Hissar. Refugees in Roumama. 

been heard of them since. The requisitioning ofi&cer takes away 
anything he finds in an Armenian shop, and many have thus 
been reduced to closing their shops, having nothing left to sell. 
Only one man among those deported from Constantinople was 
brought back, having consented to become a Mohammedan. 
This is Mr. B. of the B. Bros, firm, the largest export and import 
business in Constantinople. He has been forced to pay £5,000 
for the building of a Mosque in Kaisaria, to build a Turkish school 
in Constantinople, to wear a turban, and to pray seven times 
a day, as a proof of his sincere devotion to his new religion. 



[75] 



Trehix&nd and Erzeroum. " Times " Correspondent at Buharest. 



299 



76. TREBIZOND AND EEZEROUM : DESPATCH FROM THE 
CORRESPONDENT OF THE LONDON " TIMES " AT^BUKAREST, 
DATED BUKAREST, ISth MAY, AND PUBLISHED ON THE 
22nd MAY, 1916. 

Since the entry of the Russian troops into Trebizond it has 
become possible to lift the veil of mystery that has hitherto 
shrouded the fate of the Armenian population in this prosperous 
port. The troops on their arrival found all the Armenian houses 
plundered and for the most part in ruins. Doors, windows, 
shutters, and all woodwork had been carried away. There was 
no opposition on the part of the authorities. 

The deportation of the Armenians, which began in June, 
was carried out here, as elsewhere, in accordance with instructions 
from Constantinople. The leading famiUes were the first to 
suffer. Some 300* of these received the order to prepare for 
emigration and purchased a number of wagons for the transport 
of their property, but four days after their departure all the 
wagons were brought back to the town. The emigrants had 
been massacred and their property plundered. 

Other groups, each of several hundred families, followed. 
This process went on for some time, but eventually new methods 
were adopted. The police entered the houses of the remaining 
Armenians, forcibly expelled them, drove them through the 
streets, and locked up the houses. The whole Armenian popula- 
tion of Trebizond, numbering some 10,000 souls, was thus exter- 
minated. It is hoped, however, that some hundreds of persons 
may yet be found hidden in the villages in the neighbourhood. 

At Erzeroum, where the Armenian population was considerably 
greater, being estimated at 35,000, practically the same programme 
was carried out. The proceedings, which began in the middle 
of May, were inaugurated by the arrest and imprisonment of 
400 young Armenians. 

Many famihes, after being][expelled>from their ^houses, were 
kept waiting for several^days in the streets before being taken 
to their fate. At the entrance to the town the processions of 
exiles encountered tax-gatherers, who insisted on the payment 
of arrears of taxation, although the unfortunate people had left 
all their property behind them. Only a few artisans, who were 
required to work for the Army, were allowed to remain in the 
town. By the beginning of August the whole Armenian popula- 
tion had disappeared from Erzeroum. Only the Bishop remained. 
On the 6th August two pohce officers appeared at his house and 
communicated the order for departure. The Bishop had taken 

* Including Muggerditch Zarmanian, a contractor employed by the 
Ottoman Army. — Information furnished to the writer by Armenian refugees 
in Roumania. 



[76] 



300 Trehizond and ^rzeroutn. " Times " Correspondent at Bukarest. 

precautions to secure some horses for the transport of his effects, 
but these were now stolen. He tried to purchase others, but 
at the last moment he was informed that he was not allowed 
to take anything with him. He was then removed to an unknown 
destination. 

German officers stationed in the town and the German Consul 
manifested open approval of these proceedings. Among the 
spoils which fell to the Turks were several Armenian girls, and 
a share in this living booty was conceded to the Germans. 



[76 



IX. 



SIVAS : THE CITY AND PARTS OF THE VILAYET. 

The Vilayet of Sivas lies immediately to the west of the Vilayet 
of Erzeroum. It includes the upper basins of two rivers — the Kizil 
Irmak (Halys), on the banks of which the City of Sivas itself is 
situated, and the Yeshil Irmak, further towards the north-west and 
nearer the Black Sea coast. 

^ The province is less mountainous and much richer than its 
eastern neighbours. Agriculture is flourishing, the nomad shepherd 
is comparatively rare, and there are a number of populous towns, 
with the beginnings of local manufactures. 

The peasant population is predominantly Turkish, interspersed 
with important Greek enclaves, which have held their own from the 
first Seljuk invasions to the present day ; but there are also a number 
of Armenian villages, and the Armenians constitute — or constituted 
before June, 1915 — about half the population of the towns. The 
rising trade and industry was almost entirely the product of these 
Armenians^ initiative, and they themselves had risen with it in 
education and civilisation, till in all essentials they were on a level 
with the corresponding commercial and professional classes in 
Western Europe. 

This peaceful, progressive community was entirely uprooted by 
the Deportation Decree. The villages were cleared in June ; the 
City of Sivas suffered its first deportation on the 5th July. 



302 



SIVAS. 



77. SIVAS : LETTER PROM A FOREIGN RESIDENT AT SIVAS. 
DATED 13th JULY. 1915 ; COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN 
COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF. 

To begin with the all-important fact, which may have reached 
you by now, the Armenians of the interior are being deported in 
the direction of Mosul. At the time we left Sivas, two-thirds of 
them had gone from the city, including all our Protestants, our 
teachers and pupils, and all our side of the city. Those left were 
the orphan girls and teachers and a few boarding girls, three 
nurses and two orderlies in the hospital, D. Effendi and his 
family and a few women servants. According to my best know- 
ledge and opinion, with the exception of Armenian soldiers and 
prisoners (all of whose famiUes have been sent) and a very few 
exceptions in the case of people who, for various reasons, were 
necessary to the Government, all Armenians are gone from Sivas. 
According to what I consider good authority, I beheve it to be 
true that the entire Armenian population from Erzeroum to 
(and including) Gemerek, near Kaisaria, and from Samsoun to 
(and including) Harpout has been deported. There is also a 
movement in the central field which had not become general yet 
when I left, but will doubtless become so later. More than 100,000 
Greeks from the Marmora and Mediterranean coast have been 
deported. 

We heard many rumours of massacres, but I have no evidence 
on the subject. To my knowledge, no general massacres have 
occurred in the Sivas Vilayet. Not a few men have been killed 
in one way and another. 

This general movement against Armenians began months 
ago in arrests for alleged revolutionary activity and in searches 
for guns and bombs. In Sivas the winter passed rather quietly, 
and it was late spring before much was done. About two months 
ago a general endeavour was made to imprison all leading 
Armenians, and within a week more than 1,000 were arrested. 
I estimate the whole number of Sivas men in prison to be between 
1,500 and 2,000. The only person taken from our circle was 
H. Effendi, who was taken by name the first day — not, we think, 
as from us, but as a resident in the city. Strict orders were given 
not to molest us or our people, though all our efforts to do any- 
thing for H. EfEendi failed. Up to the time of our departure from 
Sivas these men had been in prison a month. They were well, 
and as comfortable as could be expected in a Turkish prison ; 
but no examinations had been held, no charges made, and no on© 
knew what was to be done. The VaH assured me again and again 
that they would be released and sent with their families ; but 
this was not done for at least ten days after the deportation was 
begun, and I have no confidence that it will be done at all. We 
could not believe that this outrage would reaUy take place, but 
when, on Monday, hundreds of families were loaded on to ox-carts 
and sent off, and our Protestant people were told that they were 

[77] 



FOREIGN RESIDENT. 



303 



to start on Wednesday, Miss Graffam said she was going to try 
to go with them, and in this she succeeded. She bought a spring 
wagon, a common wagon, eight ox-carts and six donkeys, so 
that our pupils and teachers went by their own conveyance. The 
Government furnished on an average an ox-cart to a family, but 
how far they went that way and how soon they were obUged to 
walk we do not know. 

The advice of the Vali^was that the orphans should remain 
for the present, and we have no idea what they will do to them 
in the end. This was one of our motives in getting to Constan- 
tinople. I represented to our friends there the fear we had that, 
after all the others were gone, these girls might be forcibly taken 
from us and put into Turkish famihes. I talked with Mr. N. 
about the possibility of bringing them all out of the country. 
Mr. Morgenthau promised to have strict orders sent to Sivas 
for their protection. I presume you will hear from Mr. N. on the 
subject, if his letter gets through. At the time we left Sivas the 
orphanage circle (female) was complete with the exception of 
Miss 0., who went with the Protestants. I think they deemed 
it wise to keep as few teachers as necessary. Miss P. and Miss Q. 
expect to go with them if they go, and take care of them if they 
remain. We understand that, since we left, the orphans have 
been moved up to the college building with the ladies ; probably 
the old building is vacant, and very likely sealed by the Govern- 
ment to ensure its safety. The Y.'s are probably sleeping in our 
house and going to the city for hospital work in the daytime. 

The only men besides Dr. Y. are G., our kavass, D. Effendi 
and two or three orderUes in the hospital, of whom you will 
remember only our old teacher, Z. Effendi, of Divrig. All the 
Protestants except R. the Greek and his family, most of the 
boarders (boys and girls) and all our teachers excepting H. Effendi, 
who was in prison, and K., who is with us, went on the road 
together on Wednesday afternoon, the 7th July. Six or eight of 
the larger boys ran away a day or two before, and we got no word 
from them. S. Effendi and T. Effendi went with their families, 
and the others — U., V., W. and X. — went the same day. 

After we had seen thousands of people start out, and 
especially after ours had actually gone, we came to the conclusion 
that if anything could be done to stop this terrible crime, which 
impresses us as ten times worse than any massacre, it would be 
done in Constantinople. Our work in Sivas seemed to be ter- 
minated, at least for the present, and our furlough was due ; so 
it was decided that Dr. Y., because of his knowledge of Turkish 
and his medical work, should remain, and that the rest of us 
should go. We had been getting neither letters nor telegrams for 
some time, and I did not beUeve that those we sent arrived. In 
Constantinople we found that the whole plan of deportation 
originated from the Central Government, and that no pressure 
from the Embassies had been able to effect anything. Mr. N. 

[77] 



304 



SIVAS. FOREIGN RESIDENT. 



felt that the most we could do now was to work for raising relief 
funds for the Armenians, and, in view of the uncertainty of travel 
from Constantinople to the border, he was anxious for us to get 
out of the country as soon as possible. So we started at once 
on receiving our passports. 

We believe there is imminent danger of many of these 
people (whom we estimate for the Sivas, Erzeroum and Harpout 
Vilayets to be 600,000) starving to death on the road. They 
took food for a few days, but did not dare take much money with 
them, as, if they did so, it is doubtful whether they would be 
allowed to keep it. From Mr. N. we understood that the Rocke- 
feller Foundation people are in Geneva or Berne, and we hope 
that everything possible will be done to make them recommend 
rehef appropriations at once. Mr. N. and our Ambassador pro- 
mised to do what they could, and gave me some hope that some 
relief funds might be sent to Harpout at once. It is questionable 
whether relief work will even be allowed, but it ought to be 
undertaken if possible. We shall do all we can in the United 
States, with the aid of the American Missions Board 

I started out from Sivas with several hundred addresses of 
people to whom we promised to give word about their friends. 
Then there was my own list of some 700 names of my constituency 
that I brought, but we were obliged to leave them all in Constan- 
tinople. It was impossible to carry out of Turkey a single address 
or a scrap of writing of any kind. I bought an empty account 
book, and started a new traveUing expense account after crossing 
the border. 

We met on the road near Talas the people of two villages 
journeying on foot with less than a donkey to a family, no food 
or bedding, hardly any men, and msmj of the women barefooted 
and carrjdng children. A case in Sivas worthy of notice was that 
of T. Effendi's sister. Her husband had worked in our hospital 
as a soldier nurse for many months. She contracted typhus, and 
was brought to our hospital. Her mother, a woman of sixty to 
seventy, got up from a sick-bed to go and take care of their 
seven children, the oldest of whom was about twelve. A few days 
before the deportation, the husband was imprisoned and exiled 
without examination or fault. When the quarter in which they 
lived went off, the mother got out of bed in the hospital and was 
put on an ox-cart to go with her children. 



[77] 



SIVAS. MISS GRAFF AM. 



305 



78. SIVAS : LETTER* WRITTEN PROM MALATIA BY MISS MARY 
L. GRAFFAM, PRINCIPAL OF THE GIRLS' HIGH SCHOOL AT 
SIVAS, TO A CORRESPONDENT AT CONSTANTINOPLE ; RE- 
PRINTED PROM THE BOSTON "MISSIONARY HERALD," 
DECEMBER. 1915. 

When we were ready to leave Sivas, the Government gave 
forty-five ox-carts for the Protestant townspeople and eighty 
horses, but none at all for our pupils and teachers ; so we bought 
ten ox-carts, two horse arabas, and five or six donkeys, and 
started out. In the company were all our teachers in the college, 
about twenty boys from the college and about thirty of the girls' - 
school. It was as a special favour to the Sivas people, who had 
not done anything revolutionary, that the Vah allowed the men 
who were not yet in prison to go with their families. 

The first night we were so tired that we just ate a piece of 
bread and slept on the ground wherever we could find a place 
to spread a yorgan (blanket). It was after dark when we stopped, 
anyway. We were so near Sivas that the gendarmes protected 
us, and no special harm was done ; but the second night we 
began to see what was before us. The gendarmes would go ahead 
and have long conversations with the villagers, and then stand 
back and let them rob and trouble the people until we all began 
to scream, and then they would come and drive them away. 
Yorgans and rugs, and all such things, disappeared by the dozen, 
and donkeys were sure to be lost. Many had brought cows ; but 
from the first day those were carried off, one by one, until not a 
single one remained. 

We got accustomed to being robbed, but the third day a new 
fear took possession of us, and that was that the men were to be 
separated from us at Kangal. We passed there at noon and, 
apart from fear, nothing special happened. Our teacher from 
Mandjaluk was there, with his mother and sisters. They had 
left the village with the rest of the women and children, and 
when they saw that the men were being taken off to be kiUed 
the teacher fled to another village, four hours away, where he 
was found by the pohce and brought safely with his family to 
Kangal, because the tchaoush who had taken them from Mand- 
jaluk wanted his sister. I found them confined in one room. 
I went to the Kaimakam and got an order for them all to come 
with us. 

At Kangal some Armenians had become Mohammedans, and 
had not left the village, but the others were all gone. The night 
before we had spent at Kazi Mahara, which was empty. They 
said that a valley near there was full of corpses. At Kangal we 
also began to see exiles from Tokat. The sight was one to strike 
horror to any heart ; they were a company of old women, who 
had been robbed of absolutely everything. At Tokat the Govern 
ment had first imprisoned the men, and from the prison had 



* Date unspecified. 
[78] 



306 



SIVAS. 



taken them on the road. The preacher's wife was in the company, 
and told us the story. After the men had gone, they arrested the 
old women and the older brides, perhaps about thirty or thirty- 
five years old. There were very few young women or children. 
All the younger women and children were left in Tokat. BadveUi 
Avedis has seven children ; one was with our schoolgirls and the 
other six remained in Tokat, without father or mother to look 
after them. For three days these Tokat people had been without 
food, and after that had Hved on the Sivas company, who had 
not yet lost much. 

When we looked at them we could not imagine that even the 
iprinkling of men that were with us would be allowed to remain. 
We did not long remain in doubt ; the next day we heard that a 
special kaimakam had come to Hassan Tchelebi to separate the 
men, and it was with terror in our hearts that we passed through 
that village about noon. But we encamped and ate our supper 
in peace, and even began to think that perhaps it was not so, 
when the Mudir came round with gendarmes and began to collect 
the men, saying that the Kaimakam wanted to write their names 
and that they would be back soon. 

The night passed, and only one man came back to tell the 
story of how every man was compelled to give up all his money, 
and all were taken to prison. The next morning they collected 
the men who had escaped the night before and extorted forty-five 
Hras from our company, on the promise that they would give us 
gendarmes to protect us. One " company " is supposed to be 
from 1,000 to 3,000 persons. Ours was perhaps 2,000, and the 
greatest number of gendarmes would be five or six. In addition 
to these they sewed a red rag on the arm of a Kurdish villager 
and gave him a gun, and he had the right to rob and bully us 
all he pleased. 

Broken-hearted, the women continued their journey. Our 
boys were not touched, and two of our teachers being small 
escaped, and will be a great help as long as they can stay with the 
company. The Mudir said that the men had gone back to Sivas ; 
the villagers whom we saw all declared that all those men were 
killed at once. The question of what becomes of the men who are 
taken out of the prisons and of those who are taken from the 
convoy is a profound mystery. I have talked with many Turks, 
and I cannot make up my mind what to beheve. 

As soon as the men left us, the Turkish drivers began to rob 
the women, saying : " You are all going to be thrown into the 
Tokma Su, so you might as well give your things to us, and then 
we will stay by you and try to protect you." Every Turkish 
woman that we met said the same thing. The worst were the 
gendarmes, who really did more or less bad things. One of our 
schoolgirls was carried off by the Kurds twice, but her companions 
made so much fuss that she was brought back. I was on the run 
a11 the time from one end of the company to the other. These 

[78] 



MISS GRAFF AM. 



307 



robbing, murdering Kurds are certainly the best-looking men 
I have seen in this country. They steal your goods, but not 
everything. They do not take your bread or your stick. 

As we approached the bridge over the Tokma Su, it was 
certainly a fearful sight. As far as the eye could see over the 
plain was this slow-moving line of ox-carts. For hours there 
was not a drop of water on the road, and the sun poured down 
its very hottest. As we went on we began to see the dead from 
yesterday's company, and the weak began to fall by the way. 
The Kurds working in the fields made attacks continually, and 
we were half-distracted. I piled as many as I could on our wagons, 
and our pupils, both boys and girls, worked Hke heroes. One 
girl took a baby from its dead mother and carried it until evening. 
Another carried a dying woman until she died. We bought water 
from the Kurds, not minding the beating that the boys were sure 
to get with it. I counted forty-nine deaths, but there must have 
been many more. One naked body of a woman was covered with 
bruises. I saw the Kurds robbing the bodies of those not yet 
entirely dead. I walked, or, rather, ran, back and forth until we 
could see the bridge. 

The hills on each side were white with Kurds, who were 
throwing stones on the Armenians, who were slowly wending 
their way to the bridge. I ran ahead and stood on the bridge in 
the midst of a crowd of Kurds, until I was used up. I did not 
see anyone thrown into the water, but they said, and I beUeve it, 
that a certain .Elmas, who has done handwork for me for years, was 
thrown over the bridge by a Kurd. Our BadveUi's wife was 
riding on a horse with a baby in her arms, and a Kurd took hold 
of her to throw her over, when another Kurd said : " She has 
a baby in her arms," and they let her go. After crossing the 
bridge, we found all the Sivas people who had left before us 
waiting by the river, as well as companies from Samsoun, Amasia 
and other places. 

The poUce for the first time began to interfere with me here, 
and it was evident that something was decided about me. The 
next morning after we arrived at this bridge, they wanted me to 
go to Malatia ; but I insisted that I had permission to stay with 
the Armenians. During the day, however, they, said that the 
Mutessarif had ordered me to come to Malatia, and that the 
others were going to Kiakhta. Soon after we heard that they 
were going to Ourfa, there to build villages and cities, &c. 

In Malatia I went at once to the commandant, a captain who 
they say has made a fortune out of these exiles. I told him how 
I had gone to Erzeroum last winter, and how we pitied these 
women and children and wished to help them, and finally he sent 
me to the Mutessarif. The latter is a Kurd, apparently anxious 
to do the right thing ; but he has been sick most of the time 
since he came, and the " beys " here have had things more or 
less their own way, and certainly horrors have been committed. 

[78] 



308 



SIVAS. MISS GRAFF AM. 



I suggested that they should telegraph to Sivas and understand 
that I had permission to go with these exiles all the way, and the 
answer is said to have come from Sivas that I am not to go 
beyond here. 

My friends here are very glad to have me with them, for they 
have a very difficult problem on their hands and are nearly 
crazy with the horrors they have been through here. The Mutes- 
sarif and other officials here and at Sivas have read me orders 
from Constantinople again and again to the effect that the lives 
of these exiles are to be protected, and from their actions I 
should judge that they must have received such orders ; but 
they certainly have murdered a great many in every city. Here 
there were great trenches dug by the soldiers for drilling pur- 
poses. Now these trenches are all filled up, and our friends saw 
carts going back from the city by night. A man I know told me 
that when he was out to inspect some work he was having done, 
he saw a dead body which had evidently been pulled out of one 
of these trenches, probably by dogs. He gave word to the Govern- 
ment, with the result that his two servants, who were with him, 
were sent for by under-officers, saying that the Pasha wanted 
them, and they were murdered. The Beledia Reis here says 
that every male over ten years old is being murdered, that not 
one is to live, and no woman over fifteen. The truth seems to be 
somewhere between these two extremes. 

My greatest object in going with these exiles was to help them 
to get started there. Many have relatives in all sorts of places, 
to whom I could write ; ; and I could, in my own estimation, be 
a channel by which aid could get to them. I am not criticising 
the Government. Most of the higher officials are at their wit's 
end to stop these abuses and carry out the orders which they 
have received ; but this is a flood, and it carries everything 
before it. 

I have tried to write only what I have seen and know to be 
true. The reports and possibilities are very many, but the exact 
truth that we know, at best, calls for our most earnest prayer 
and effort. God has come very near to many during these 
days. 



[78] 



SIVAS. SECOND FOREIGN RESIDENT, 



309 



79. EXTRACTS FROM A LETTER, DATED MASSACHUSETTS, 29th 
AUGUST, 1915, FROM ANOTHER FOREIGN RESIDENT AT SIVAS 
TO MR. G. H. PAELIAN. 

You may be surprised to get a letter from me from America, 
and I am surprised myself that I am really here. It is seven years 
and our time for a furlough ; but as there was no one to leave 
the College with, and the children were small, we decided to wait 
a year or two. But when they deported the Armenians and left 
us without work and without friends, we decided to come home 
and get our vacation and be ready to go wherever we could after 
the war. 

You will want to know about Sivas and about your family in 
particular. In general, the Sivas Armenians are gone, but there 
were a few exceptions when we came away — the Swiss Orphanage, 
the Sanasarian School, the people in prison (1,500 of the 
best men), and the Armenians in the army who were employed 
in making roads, building houses, tailoring, shoe-making, &c., for 
the army. Then there are Dr. A. and Dr. B., the C.'s, a few 
tent-makers and people who were necessary to the Turks, a few 
nurses in our hospital, and D., our druggist. 

The others were all deported on ox-carts on the 5th July and 
the succeeding ten days. In general, there was one ox-cart to a 
family, and they could take whatever they wished to on that. 
The Vali allowed the Protestants all to go on the same day, 
although they were scattered all over the city, and the others 
were sent by quarters. Our teachers and boarding pupils went 
with the Protestants. 

E. and her children went with the Protestants too. I bought 
a cow for her, and gave it to her and another woman who could 
take care of it. I thought that F. must have milk. I did not get 
down in time to see them off, but Miss Graffam went with them 
to help what she could. 

The morning after they started out, we sent G. on horseback 
to see how they were. They had spent one night without any 
accident, although they had not slept much. 

All our teachers went except H., who was in prison. We do 
not know why they imprisoned him, but we think some enemy 
of the family must have told some Ues about them, because they 
imprisoned his brother, too, and J. We tried every way to get 
him out, but it was of no use. 

Have you heard that he is engaged to K., a girl who has 
been in our family a great deal ? She was a teacher in the girls' - 
school, studied one year in Smyrna, and then taught one year 
more. She usually spends the summer in our family, and was to 
do the same this year. When the Armenians were deported, the 
Vali allowed us to keep three girls as servants, and, as she was to 
be with us, we kept her with two others who were already with 
us, and we brought the three to America with us, saving these 
three from the general deportation. 

[79] 



310 



SIVAS. SECOND FOREIGN RESIDENT. 



Since coming to America and hearing about what happened 
in other places, it seems that the deportation from Sivas was very 
humane, but at best it was awful. I cannot describe the sadness 
of having all our friends taken away from us in one day and 
not knowing where they were going or whether we should see 
them again. The College was full of boys, teachers, carpenters, 
servants, &c. The L.'s, &c., were camping. In a single day they 
went, and only our family was left, with G. We were not afraid ; 
we did not care what happened. 

"'^ Now we do not know what has become of them, or what 
has become of the prisoners or the soldiers. 



[79] 



SIVAS. NATURALISED OTTOMAN SUBJECT, 



311 



80. SIVAS : NARRATIVE OP A NATURALISED OTTOMAN SUBJECT, 
DATED NEW YORK CITY, 10th MARCH, 1916 ; COMMUNICATED 
BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN 
RELIEF. 

When the majority of the Armenian people were exiled from 
Sivas, I was in Talas, but when I heard what had happened I 
started back at once, thinking of course that my relations 
would also be sent away, and wishing to accompany them. It 
was with great difficulty that I obtained permission from the 
officials in Kaisaria to go back ; they claimed that the road was 
very dangerous, and that it would be impossible for a woman 
alone to travel over it. Finally, the head official of the Military 
Transport, who was Uving in Sivas and had taken possession 
of Dr. AB.'s house there, telegraphed to Kaisaria that I might 
travel under the protection of the Menzel, and I started with 
two officers who were in a wagon behind me and who warned 
me that I must keep close to them, as the road was very dangerous. 
The road until we reached Sharkishla, two days' journey from 
Kaisaria, was very quiet, and we met almost no one. At Shar- 
kishla the plain was black with exiles from different parts of 
AnatoHa ; they had been waiting there for about a week and new 
recruits were coming in every day. At that time they did not 
seem very unhappy. The weather was beautiful, the plain was 
covered with trees, and many of the wealthy people had tents 
and wagons, while there were a great many boys and men in the 
party. 

Later, when they reached Malatia, or even before, the men 
were separated from them, their wagons and goods were taken 
from them, and they were only allowed to take what they could 
carry on their backs over the narrow mountain pass through 
which they went. I know this because Miss Graffam met these 
same people later on, while she was on the road with the Sivas 
people. I was not very near them, but I could see them from 
the han window. The handji, an Armenian, told me he was 
sure they were all to be killed, and the officers told me the next 
day that they had visited them at night, and that the men were 
to be killed ; they said they were sorry for the women and children, 
but one of them added : This is what happens to people that 
want a kingdom of their own." 

I had a few unpleasant experiences on the road, but I will not 
stop to tell them. I found my relations safe, and the VaU had 
told them they might stay — I beheve because of the influence of 
gome powerful Turkish friends they have in Constantinople, who 
had telegraphed to the Vali to save Dr. AB. and his wife. The 
prisons at that time were filled with our Sivas men — several 
thousand ; these men we visited every day, taking food to some 
of them and trying to cheer up the others. Their wives and children 
had gone with the exiles, and it was pretty hard work to be brave 
when they did not know their fate, but it was surprising how 

[80] Z 



312 



SIVAS. 



really brave they were. Some of the gaolers were very brutal men, 
and would be eis disagreeable as possible to us, but others were 
pohte and wilUng to let us see the prisoners, even allowing selected 
ones to come into the yard and talk with us. About a month 
later these men were taken out in batches of a hundred at night ; 
they were told that they were to be taken to the railway near 
Angora to work on it ; the rich men were allowed to hire wagons 
from Turks, at a big price, to travel in. They were all taken very 
early in the morning, several hours before dayUght, and they 
were seen, those on foot, to go over the mountain into the valley, 
where we are pretty sure they were killed, as the soldiers returned 
with clothes, and the wagons always came back three or four 
hours later filled with clothes. The soldiers, moreover, described 
how many of the men met their fate, some bravely, some other- 
wise, and we think they spoke the truth, for they told of men we 
knew intimately, and who would have been apt to do and say just 
what they said they did, in the face of death. It was hard to see 
so many of our fine young men go off in this way, and many of 
them had no idea they were going to their death. Some of them 
took money with them, thinking they might meet their wives 
and children. When they heard that Miss Graffam was returning, 
they were so anxious to see her and hear of their famiHes. Most 
of them were gone when she got back, but she was allowed to 
go into the prison and tell those that were left something about 
the journey she had made. They were thankful to hear that 
their wives and children were still ahve, as they had heard they 
had all been massacred a few days' distance from Sivas. Miss 
Graffam said that although they were robbed on the road and 
almost everything they had was taken from them, still the girls 
and women were not outraged or treated badly as far as Malatia. 
After that, we heard from boys that had escaped from the party 
and come back to Sivas that many of the girls were carried off 
by^the Kurds a few days after Miss Graffam left them. 

After all our Sivas men had been taken from the prisons, 
other men kept coming in from other cities and towns Uke Angora 
and Yozgad. They were kept in prison for a few days and then 
taken out as our men had been. We were not permitted to see 
these men. Many of them when they reached Sivas were in 
carriages. We heard that they, too, were killed in the moun- 
tains, and that Sivas was being called the " Great Slaughter 
House." The last of our young men that remained in prison were 
three young doctors. One of them, Dr. AC, had been educated 
by Mrs. AD. ; he had been brought up in the Orphanage at X., 
and was a splendid young man, full of enthusiasm for his work, 
which was in the military hospital. Another of the three was the 
son of a wealthy Divrig family, who had been educated in Ger- 
many and had many strong German friends among the high 
German officials in Constantinople, who either would not or 
could not do anything to save him. They were executed while 

[80] 



NATURALISED OTTOMAN SUBJECT. 



313 



I was in Constantinople. I had taken with me letters to a high 
German official from Dr. AE., asking him to save them ; and later 
Miss Graffam telegraphed to me that they were in great danger, 
and begged me to do all I could to save them — to go to the 
Germans. I did so, but was told they had gone to Enver Pasha 
before, and that he would do nothing for them. 

About thirty or forty families in Sivas, all of them wealthy, 
had become Moslems, having the promise that, if they did so, 
their lives and property would be safe. A few weeks later, all 
of them, with the exception of two or three merchants, were told 
they had to go, and, as soon as they left, their property was con- 
fiscated by the Government. The VaH's family doctor, an 
Armenian, was told that he was to stay, and he asked if that 
meant he was to become a Moslem. The Vali said : " No, I am 
tired of these people becoming Moslems." 

At two different times our orphanage children were ordered 
out ; both times Dr. Y. went to the Vali and begged that they 
might stay, telling him how small many of them were, only three 
or four years old, and how they would certainly die on the road, 
for at that time even ox -carts could not be found. He seemed 
to be touched and said they might. There seemed always to be 
friction between the pohce and the Vali ; he would give permission 
for them to stay and the poUce would come and say they were 
to go ; several of the poUce officers came to the older girls and 
teachers, and asked them to become their wives and stay, saying 
that they would be carried off on the road anyway, and that they 
might as well accept them and remain. Many hundreds of Httle 
girls were being brought back to Sivas before I left ; some were 
being placed in Moslem families and some in empty houses. We 
were not allowed to see them. Many of the Turkish officers had 
seized one or two of these httle girls and were planning to take 
them on to Constantinople with them. Some of our orphanage 
teachers were able to interview some of the older girls that were 
brought back from Kara-Hissar (one of the places where the 
Armenians tried to defend themselves). These girls tell horrible 
tales of what they saw there. A great many of these girls were 
being married to Turks ; the Turks were saying they were not 
forcing them ; they wanted them to become their wives willingly. 
A number of women and children who had been in hiding were 
also beginning to come out of hiding when I left, and the Mis- 
sionaries were taking them into the orphanage and the hospital, 
trying to save them. 

Several Armenian soldiers from the Samsoun region had also 
fled to the hospital for protection ; they had started with their 
regiments from Samsoun, and the Armenians, who numbered a 
thousand or more, had been attacked by the guards and^the 
majority killed or left for dead. The men that came to Dr. Y. 
had been among those left for dead ; one of them had a horrible 
wound across the back of his neck, where he had been cut 

[80] Z 2 



314 



SIVAS. 



by an axe ; they usually used axes, saying they did not want 
to waste powder and shot on them. Some others came from a lonely 
barracks on the Marsovan road, where they and their comrades, 
all Armenians (soldiers), had been shut up for three days without 
food or water. Finally a young Turkish officer heard the noise 
as he passed, and came and let them out. These men said that 
they were put in this building towards evening. They were 
tied together by threes and called out in succession. Those that 
went out never returned, and they found that they were being 
butchered with axes. One of the men succeeded in untying the 
cord that he and his two companions were tied with ; they closed 
and barricaded the door, and when the soldiers, who were only a 
few in number (Turkish), found that they could not get in, they 
fastened it on the outside so that the Armenians should not get 
out. They were afraid, indeed, to go out even after the Turkish 
soldiers had left, until this officer appeared and sent them on to 
Sivas ; he said that the men that did these things would be 
punished, but they were not. We beUeved that they were allowed 
to do pretty much as they pleased with the Armenians, and so, 
when they happened to be brutal, they did this kind of thing, 
with the result that many of the Armenians that had gone through 
it had become nervous wrecks. Br. Y. had seen and talked with 
a number of these men, and I also saw those who had fled to the 
hospital. 

In Tokat the girls, small and large, were left in the houses 
alone. The daughter of the BadveUi there managed to send 
a letter to her uncle, who was a nurse in our hospital (a soldier), 
saying that she and her four Httle sisters were in the house 
alone and had nothing to live on, and that the city was full of 
girls in the same condition ; up till that time, which was a month 
after their parents had left them, they had not been injured by 
the Turks. A Turk brought the letter. 

On the 1st October, when I left Sivas to go up to Constantinople, 
I had some difficulty in getting permission to start, as the Vali 
was away. I had to wait until he returned. He said he would 
see that I got as far as Talas safely, and he told me which places 
to stop at ; but because of some trouble with the driver, I was 
unable to stop at the bans he told me to stop at, and the first 
night the ban was filled with Armenians who were being deported 
from X., both men and women. They were wealthy people who 
had become Moslems. My driver told me that they had not 
become true Moslems and for that reason were being sent away. 
The soldiers with them were very evil-looking men. I noticed that 
they had many beautiful rugs and carj)ets in their wagons. In 
the next room there were some Turks who were talking of the 
kilHng of the Armenians ; however, nothing happened to them 
that night. The second night I had to stop at a han which had 
been very prosperous a few months before, but was now half 
wrecked and deserted. It was dark and we could not go on, 

[80] 



NATURALISED OTTOMAN SUBJECT. 



315 



and we found that the son and brother of the former handji had 
become Moslems, and that the Government had allowed them to 
take charge of the han on condition that they turned over all the 
money they made to the Government. These two men were in 
the most pitiable condition from fear, and they both told me 
horrible tales of how the men of Gemerek had been killed ; this 
han was outside the town of Gemerek. They said they had 
hidden in the mountains for three weeks until driven out by 
starvation, and then had given themselves up to the Government 
and become Moslems, but they added : " We are only Moslems 
with our mouths, but Christians in our hearts." Still, they were 
very fearful, and not at all sure that they would not be killed later. 
In the village of Gemerek, they said, most of the girls had been 
forced into marriage with the Turks, and many of the old women 
had been killed and the rest deported. I had seen them on my 
way to Sivas going out, so I knew this to be true. The next night 
I heard two hodjas talking, under my window, of a terrible 
massacre of the Armenians that had just taken place in the 
mountains ; they seemed to be very sorry about it and spoke of 
it with horror ; they did not know, of course, that I was listening. 
When I reached Talas, the people had almost all gone from there 
and from Kaisaria. The Kaisaria Protestants, or at least a 
number of Protestant famihes, were sent out to Talas and given 
houses there, while the Talas Protestants were sent to neighbour- 
ing villages ; but their condition was much better than that of 
any of the Armenian people in our Sivas region. The Girls'- 
School was filled with girls from Kaisaria, most of them the 
daughters of wealthy Gregorian and Catholic famihes. The 
Kaisaria people had been allowed to leave their daughters behind. 
While I was there, a woman and two men arrived from one of the 
Kaisaria out-stations and told of the terrible massacre of the 
whole village. First the little boys up to ten were taken outside 
the village and killed. There were only a few men in the village, 
so the women dressed as men and held the village against the 
Kurds and Turks for three weeks, keeping them off with stones ; 
they had fled to the hills. These people said that the Turks used 
to call to them to come down and become Moslems and their 
lives would be spared ; this they refused to do. Later, the village 
Turks were reinforced by the soldiers from Kaisaria, who shot 
them .down, only these three people escaping. They had been 
weeks reaching Talas, having to hide by day and travel very 
slowly at night for fear of being caught. This village had many 
of our Protestant people, and among those killed was the mother 
of one of the teachers and the wife of another. We heard that 
all the villages in that region were treated in this way, instead of 
being deported. While in Talas I had a telegram from Sivas 
asking me to wait for a professor of the Sanasarian College, who 
was coming from Sivas with his wife and httle boy. The Vali 
had given them permission to go on to Constantinople ; he had 



[80] 



316 



SIVAS. NATURALISED OTTOMAN SUBJECT. 



been educated in Vienna and his wife in this country ; they were 
very fine people. I waited several days and they did not come. 
I found that they had left Sivas as they planned and disappeared 
between Sivas and Talas — they have never been heard from. I 
know a number of people that disappeared in just this way on 
that road, after the Vali had given them permission to travel 
and the promise of a safe escort. 

The rest of the way from Kaisaria to the railway I went under 
the protection of the Military Transportation Company. I 
passed through many deserted towns, but saw no dead bodies 
on the road, only one between Sivas and Talas. On the railway 
we passed truck -load after truck -load of Armenians — exiles being 
sent into the interior. All were in cattle-trucks, huddled together 
like animals. We met these trucks every day ; often they were 
shunted on the siding. All along the Konia plain were tens of 
thousands of people ; some had tents, many of them had nothing. 
The weather at that time was warm, so they were not suffering 
specially from the cold. Later, while in Constantinople, we 
heard that these people on the Konia plain were being sent into 
the interior and not allowed to take any food with them, so that 
they would die quickly. 

On the train, in the compartment mth me, was the wife of 
the Mutessarif of Erzindjan. She had several Armenian girls 
with her — one of them in the compartment with us to wait on 
her children. She was kind to this child, who was only about 
nine years old, but she treated her like a little slave. She told 
another Turkish woman that her parents had been sent away 
and she had taken her from the streets. The Armenians in 
Constantinople had not been deported, only the men who were 
suspected of revolutionary tendencies, but there is great suffering 
among them for lack of food, and they need work. Professor 
told me, the week before I left, that the Turks in Constantin- 
ople were saying: " The Armenians from Constantinople must 
go," and that great pressure was being brought to bear upon 
them by the Turks to become Moslems and stay. We had a num- 
ber of Armenian young women employed in the Red Cross work, 
and they all showed a most beautiful Christian spirit, were always 
kind and gentle to the soldiers, and never showed in any way that 
they felt any bitterness toward them. Several of them had 
come from the interior and had relatives that had been deported ; 
one of them was from Trebizond, where there had been that 
terrible massacre of children, and her Httle baby of seven months 
was, she fears, among them. This young woman went into exile 
with her husband, and lost everything and everyone in Trebizond. 
She was a most beautiful Christian, and was loved and respected 
by the people that worked with her. 



[80] 



SIVAS. ADVENTURES OF MURAD. 



317 



81. SIVAS : THE ADVENTURES OF MURAD ; NARRATED BY 
"S.H.S.," IN THE JOURNAL "THE NEW ARMENIA," OF 
NEW YORK, 1st MARCH, 1916. 

In December, 1914, Murad was peacefully at work in his native 
village of Govdoun. Then he was apprised of the troubles brewing 
in the city of Sivas, the capital of the Vilayet. He hastened 
there to find the Armenians panic-stricken. All the Armenians 
of mihtary age, as well as all the prominent Armenian business 
men, had been imprisoned on the pretext that the bread supphed 
to the Turkish soldiers was poisoned by the Armenian bakers. 
The Armenian physicians in the city went to the mihtary com- 
mander and protested against this outrage, offering to prove that 
the accusation was false. As the mihtary commander was not 
on good terms with the Vah, he ordered some of the bread to be 
brought, and the physicians ate it before him without any bad 
results. Then he ordered the prisoners to be released. However, 
matters grew steadily worse, persecution increased, and spread 
finally to the surrounding villages. 

Murad, with a group of brave Armenians, resisted^the outrages 
of the Turkish Government for several months, until he was 
obUged to take refuge in the mountains. In March, 1915, 
Turkish soldiers were sent to capture Murad and his band, but 
they were defeated and repulsed. The Armenians fought their 
way slowly over the mountains in a continual guerilla warfare. 
The Government became so exasperated that it placed a price 
on Murad*s head. 

Murad was^stricken with typhus as a result of the privations 
and hardships the band endured, and his comrades had to carry 
him from snow-clad mountain to mountain, and from cave to 
cave, in order to save him from capture. At Mount Sachar 
Murad and his comrades were surrounded by three hundred 
Turkish cavalrymen, but they succeeded in escaping to an 
Armenian village in Khantzart. The peasants nursed Murad, 
and said : " Remain here, and we will die by hundreds to protect 
you." Murad did not wish to expose them to danger. When he 
heard that the Turkish cavalry were approaching, he requested 
his comrades to remove him to the mountains. 

In the milder weather of May, Murad began to recover. A 
company of Turkish cavalrymen renewed the search for the 
httle band of Armenian warriors. Murad and his seven men 
opened fire upon the Turks, wounding several of them. The 
Turks beat a hasty retreat, but returned soon with reinforce- 
ments. These also were put to flight by the Armenians. Murad 
then withdrew from the mountain and travelled for some days 
through the woods and valleys. 

[81] 



318 



SIVA 3. 



Because of the extraordinary prowess of the Armenians, it 
was rumoured that Murad had a thousand men with him. The 
VaU of Sivas determined to capture him at any cost. At a place 
called Telouk-Khaina a hundred Turkish infantry advanced 
upon Murad's army of eight, but Murad decided to save his 
ammunition, and retreated. Near Tedjir a Turkish regiment 
with seven guns advanced to give battle to the supposed Armenian 
army, but the Armenians again used discretion. Murad's men 
had armed themselves well at the beginning, and replenished 
their stock of ammunition constantly from the soldiers whom 
they killed. They frequently found on the slain Kurds and 
Turks jewelry and other ornaments that had belonged to 
Armenian women, and Murad still has in his possession some of 
these jewels. 

After numerous victorious encounters and skirmishes with 
the Turks, Murad turned toward Samsoun, in the autumn of 
1915. His band had been increased by seven Armenians and 
three Greeks. Having reached the village of Tchamulan, not far 
from Samsoun, they were welcomed by a prominent Greek named 
Constantine. The Turks had burned and destroyed all the boats 
owned by Constantine, who was also subjected to other persecu- 
tions. Defjdng the Turks, he harboured the eighteen rebels in 
his house, and defended them. One day three hundred Turkish 
soldiers surrounded the Greek's house and opened fire. The 
besieged band so successfully defended itself that the enemy 
could not approach the house. Every new attack was repulsed 
successfully, and many of the Turks were killed. In the evening 
the siege was raised and the enemy withdrew. Murad and his 
comrades, together with Constantine and his family, evacuated 
their stronghold and proceeded toward Samsoun. 

The party finally reached the woods of Hodjadagh, near the 
Black Sea. There they remained in hiding, and sent scouts to 
reconnoitre the country and find a way of escape. Having 
replenished their stock of food and ammunition, the brave 
warriors hastened one night to the sea coast. They found there 
a Turkish saihng vessel at anchor, and captured it with its 
Turkish crew of five. They loaded the vessel mth their suppHes 
and set sail, taking with them the Turkish crew to man the boat. 

After eight days and nights on the Black Sea, their water 
supply was exhausted and they were compelled to make bread 
with sea-water. Meanwhile they suffered terribly from thirst. 
The vessel passed Samsoun and Kerasond, and approached 
Riza. While they were still about three or four hours' distance 
from the Russian coast, two Turkish motor-boats were seen 
pursuing. The Turks had learned of Murad's escape and had 
dispatched a force to capture him at sea. The Turks opened 
fire on the rebels. The Armenian sharpshooters rephed effectively. 
The motor-boats turned back after many of the soldiers had been 

[81] 



ADVENTURES OF MURAD. 



319 



killed. In Murad's party brave Yegho was killed, and one of the 
Greeks wounded. 

A heavy storm arose, and the superstitious Turkish sailors 
begged that the body of Yegho might be thrown into the sea, 
because they feared that the boat would be wrecked if the corpse 
remained on board. The vessel finally reached Batoum, and the 
party landed safely on Russian soil. Murad buried Yegho and 
then went to Tifiis, where he joined the other Armenian 
Volunteers. 



[81] 



320 



SIVAS. 



82. SIVAS : RECORD OF AN INTERVIEW GIVEN BY THE REFUGEE 
MURAD TO MR. A. S. SAFRASTIAN AT TIFLIS. 

Once more the curtain drawn over the heinous details of 
Armenian massacres in Asia Minor is raised by that well-known 
fighter, Murad of Sivas, the Armenian leader of the province. 
Starting from Sharkishla, some twenty miles south-west of Sivas, 
with a small force, he opened his way to Divrig, lying about 
sixty miles south-east of Sivas ; and after a great number of 
encounters with regular Turkish troops, he eventually entrenched 
himself on the heights of Yaldiz Dagh, north-east of Sivas, where, 
surrounded by large numbers of the enemy, he kept up desperate 
fighting'^for eight days. Most of his comrades were killed in this 
unequal combat. He himself, however, succeeded in breaking 
through the Turkish lines and emerged on the coast, somewhere 
near Samsoun. Here he forced some Turkish boatmen to set sail 
in the direction of Batoum. On the voyage, his boat was chased 
by Turkish motor launches and fired on, and in this encounter 
one of his comrades was killed by a bullet. He has just reached 
here to throw more light upon the horrors which have been 
committed in the Vilayet of Sivas and in parts of Harpout and 
Western Dersim. 

For about twenty years Murad (a brother-in-arms of 
Andranik, the organiser of the present volunteer regiments) 
has been in the front ranks of the Armenian movement as a 
leading fighter, and the circumstances of his struggle since last 
March, and the story of his adventurous escape to Russia when 
all was over, would fill volumes. He has come^to^^tell the outside 
world the news that, of 160,000 Armenians inhabiting the province 
of Sivas, there remain now, or, rather, remained a month ago, 
when hejeft, some 10,000, who have either been spared as useful 
artisans toihng in the labour battafions and the^ prisons, or were 
old people left in their homes. The remaining 150,000 souls have 
either been massacred outright or deported to the area bounded 
by the right bank of the Euphrates and Northern Mesopotamia. 

The story which Murad gave me reveals once more the 
thorough organisation of these massacres by_an overmastering 
hand, and the ruthless processes by which the details were carried 
out. Anybody hstening to Murad, who had been cut off from 
the rest of the world for eight months, would at once have thought 
it to be the story of the massacres at BitHs or one of the other 
places, there is such a striking resemblance of detail in the work 
of destruction. 

The persecutions began with the outbreak of the Turkish 
war. The Armenians of Sivas did all they could to help the 
Red Crescent work of the Turkish army, either by personal 
service or contributions. Notwithstanding all these efforts, the 
Armenian element in particular was unscrupulously robbed under 
the cloak of military requisitions. In the meantime, the Turks 

[82] 



INTERVIEW WITH MURAD. 



321 



of Sivas did not conceal their intention of settling old scores with 
the Armenians, who had applied to Europe for reforms. 

The storm broke over the question of Armenian deserters 
from the Turkish army and the disarming of civilian Armenians. 
The Divisional Commander of Sivas had ordered that able-bodied 
men above thirty-three years of age and liable to service should 
get a permit from the mihtary authorities for temporary exemp- 
tion from entering the field ; whereas Muamer Pasha, the VaU 
of Sivas, looked upon such a step as a sign of Armenian disloyalty. 
During December and January most Armenian soldiers in the 
Turkish service were either disarmed and sent to the labour 
battalions, or were imprisoned as ' suspicious ' characters. The 
treatment they received in the army was of a most unenviable 
kind. A Holy War had been proclaimed by the Caliph, and the 
fate of the Infidels was in the Moslems' hands. To mention an 
instance : on an unfounded charge of desertion six Armenians 
were hanged in Gurin, three of them being brothers, who were 
absolutely innocent. 

For disarming the Armenians, the Turks employed the most 
fiendish methods. The order for delivering up all arms in the 
possession of civiHans was nominally universal, but in fact it was 
directed against the Armenians. In Khourakhon, a village near 
Sivas, one man (Harutune) was actually shod hke a horse, one 
(Muggerdich) was castrated, and another (Puzant) was done to 
death by putting a red-hot iron crown on his head. Under threats 
of such tortures many Armenians were compelled to buy arms 
and give them up to the authorities. The tragi -comical part of 
the whole business was that the Turkish officials entrusted with 
the mission of collecting arms were themselves selling them to 
Armenians at a good profit*. The object of these infamous proceed- 
ings seems to have been the wish of the Turkish Government to 
place the Armenians in the category of rebels, and accuse them of 
having hidden arms in spite of official warnings. 

Then, again, with a view to striking terror among the 
Armenians, four or five of the leading men in every town or village 
were mysteriously shot; while most of the Government officials 
of Armenian nationality were dismissed without any reason. 
Nishan Effendi, the sub-governor of Kotchesurf (Province of 
Sivas), a man of good record, was peremptorily dismissed from 
his post with many others. 

Towards the end of January last (1915), Odabashian Vartabed 
(the Armenian bishop-elect of Sivas) was proceeding to his post 
from Angora, when he was attacked on the way and killed in 
his carriage. It has now been proved beyond doubt that the plot 
was hatched with the cognisance of Muamer Pasha, the Governor, 
as among the murderers were Mahil Effendi of Zara, his aide-de- 
camp, Tcherkess Eaor Kassim, his chief hangman, and two 
others. 



* See Docs. 68, 94, and 122. f Kotch Hissar. 

[82] 



322 



SIVAS. 



During the course of February, Armenian soldiers on active 
service and Armenian bakers were accused by the authorities of 
having poisoned the soldiers' bread and food. The subsequent 
medical inquiry instituted by Turkish and Greek doctors easily 
proved the baselessness of so gross a charge. 

The billeting of Turkish soldiers upon Armenians throughout 
the province, and their uninterrupted movement from one front 
to the other*, Sivas being on the main road between Angora and 
Erzeroum, caused indescribable suffering to the defenceless popu- 
lation. Like famished wolves, the Turkish soldiers ate up every- 
thing they saw, and took everything they could lay hands on. 
In Ketcheurd, an Armenian village east of Sivas, the women 
were horribly outraged by the soldiers, six of the best-looking 
of them being so atrociously treated that they succumbed before 
the very eyes of their tormentors ; and this is only a typical 
example. 

Another incident of a quite impersonal character greatly 
embittered the relations between the Armenians and the Turks. 
About 1,700 Russian prisoners of war, captured by the Turks in 
February, were brought to Sivas in a deplorable condition. The 
Russian soldiers of Moslem origin had already been released at 
Erzeroum, most of the Armenians had been killed, and the 
Russians were stripped of their clothing. On their way to Sivas 
they were grossly insulted, spat on by every Moslem passer-by, 
and whipped by their escort into quicker march. Half their 
number reached Sivas almost naked, covered with filthy rags, 
their feet swollen and in some cases with their sheepskin coats 
glued to their sore bodies. In face of such an outrageous treat- 
ment of these Russian prisoners, the Armenians of Sivas provided 
them with medical help and various comforts. This trivial 
manifestation of humane feehng displayed by the Armenians, 
however, caused great resentment among the Moslems. In 
spite of all such efforts, only some sixty Russians survived out 
of the contingent of 1,700 prisoners. The Turks picked quarrels 
with the Armenians when the latter tried to bury the Russian 
dead. 

In the last days of March, Murad and other Armenian 
leaders were asked by the Vali of Sivas to attend a meeting for 
the dehberation of some important questions. Murad had, 
however, been privately informed by some Turkish friends that 
there was a plot against him and his comrades, so he very 
naturally failed to comply with the Vali's request. The con- 
sequence of this was that the relatives of these men were sub- 
jected to shameful treatment at the hands of the Turks. Never- 
theless, the Armenians throughout Sivas, Erzindjan, Harpout, 

* As the Russian fleet had blockaded the Black Sea ports and transport 
by water was difficult, the Turks appear to have been using the Anatohan 
Railway to Angora, the terminus of the line, for their communications, 
proceeding thence to Erzeroum through Sivas by horse and camel. — [Note by 
the interviewer.] 

[82] 



INTERVIEW WITH MURAD. 



323 



Tchemesh-Getzak and the other districts thought it wise to 
endure these persecutions, so as not to give any grounds for 
harsher measures. Fresh contingents of troops were sent to each 
village in April to collect an imaginary number of arms, and 
such arms were provided for the authorities in the manner already 
described. Courts-martial were set up in many places and people 
were summarily tried and sentenced. Hovhannes Poladian, 
Vahan Vartanian, Murad of Khourakhon and twelve other 
leaders were shot. Men belonging to the Dashnaktzoutioun and 
the Huntchah parties were subjected to 110 strokes each. These 
terrorising methods were carried out in thorough earnest in 
Oulash, Sharkishla, Kotchan, Gemerek, Gurin, Derenda, Divrig, 
and other districts. 

More dreadful days for the Armenians began in June. On 
the assumption that every Armenian soldier was a deserter, and 
that his people at home had secreted numberless arms, the Turks 
never relaxed their policy of squeezing out of the Armenians every 
piastre they could get by employing the most brutal means. 
Towards the end of June and the beginning of July, massacres 
on a far vaster scale were carried out in various parts of the 
area referred to. The methods pursued in these massacres were 
precisely the same as everywhere else in Armenia. The men 
were separated from their women, and the latter driven in a 
south-easterly direction. The able-bodied men were first 
imprisoned and then massacred in small batches under blood- 
curdling circumstances. For the space of two weeks, Murad 
thinks, 5,000 Armenians were daily disposed of in the various 
districts of the province. At Maltepe, a village an hour's ride 
east of Sivas, some twenty Armenian officials in the Government 
service were hacked to pieces with pointed and spiked hatchets. 
At Duzasar, another Armenian village near Sivas, 32 Armenians 
were done to death in the same manner. 

At Habesh, near Zara, east of Sivas, 3,800 Armenians of the 
neighbourhood were poleaxed, stoned or bayoneted in a fiendish 
manner. In Khorsan, the headman of the village, named Nigoghos, 
was hanged upside down on the Boghaz bridge near the village. 
At Gotni, another village with 120 Armenian families, Turkish 
bashi-bazouks, mostly released convicts organised into " Chetti " 
bands, gloried in the achievement of having killed every male 
above twelve and outraged every woman above the same age. 

At Herag, a village near Sivas, the men were killed, the 
young women carried away and about 600 children detained 
by the Vali, perhaps to be converted to Islam. The women 
of Malatia were stripped naked and driven out from their homes, 
amid the gibes and jeers of the Moslem rabble ; many young 
women actually went mad, others resorted to hideously painful 
means to put an end to their lives. At Niksar, north of Sivas, 
moat of the young women were distributed among the Turks, and 
the remainder were deported to the south. 

[82] 



324 



SIVAS. 



During his wanderings Murad happened to see that only 
300 children and old people were left in the town of Tchar-Shamba, 
near the coast, where there was a large, prosperous colony before. 
The young people of both sexes had been either killed, abducted 
or deported from their homes ; no child above ten years of age 
remained among the survivors. 

In the territory extending from Amasia, north-west of 
Sivas, to Erzindjan and Harpout, the Armenian element has 
been reduced to the same condition. In certain centres like 
Arabldr, Tchemesh-Getzak, etc., some famiUes escaped persecn- 
tion by adopting Islam. 

About 15,000 Armenians of Erzindjan and the surrounding 
district were for the most part drowned in the Euphrates near the 
Kamakh gorge ; the Armenians of Baibourt are also reported to 
have suffered the same fate in the river Kara-Su, a tributary of 
the Euphrates. With the exception of some thirty Armenian 
families at Samsoun, all Persian subjects, and a few other families 
spared here and there, Murad states that all along the Black 
Sea coast the industrious Armenian element has been uprooted 
from its homes and its property distributed among local or 
immigrant Moslems. 

In the town of Sivas itself, which comprised some 25,000 
Armenians, many of the important inhabitants have either been 
IdUed or deported to the deserts. There remain now some 120 
Armenian families in the town, consisting mainly of children 
and elderly folk. 

Amid this general scene of unopposed slaughter and destruc- 
tion, however, there are brave deeds to record and stories of 
death faced heroically by both men and women. 

The Armenians of Duzasar, Gavra, Khorsan, Khantzod, &c., 
all places in the Province of Sivas, made every possible sacrifice 
with a view to preventing an inter-racial outbreak in the early 
stages of the war ; but when they were convinced that the 
attitude of passive resistance they had adopted did not avail in any 
way, they took up arms, and, supported by their compatriots of 
Gurin, Gemerek, Divrig, Ketch-Magara, Mandjaluk and other 
places, fought for days against the Moslem soldiers and bands and 
repaid the enemy in their own coin. 

The Armenians of Shabin Kara-Hissar and Amasia, exas- 
perated at the unaccountable savagery of the Turks, took to 
reprisals. They burnt down the Moslem quarters and the Govern- 
ment Buildings in their respective towns and temporarily drove 
the Turks from them. Later, however, they were overwhelmed 
by large Turkish forces, and died fighting to the last. 

Sirpouhi and Santukht, two young women of Ketcheurd, a 
village east of Sivas, who were being led off to the harem by 
Turks, threw themselves into the river Halys, and were drowned 
with their infants in their arm?. Mdlle. Sirpouhi, the nineteen- 

[82] 



INTERVIEW WITH MURAD. 



325 



year-old daughter of Garabed Tufenkjian of Herag, a graduate of 
the American College of Marsovan, was offered the choice of 
saving herself by embracing Islam and marrying a Turk. Sirpouhi 
retorted that it was an outrage to murder her father and then 
make her a proposal of marriage. She would have nothing to do 
with a godless and a murderous people ; whereupon she, and 
seventeen other Armenian girls who had refused conversion, 
were shamefully ill-treated and afterwards killed near Tchamli-Bel 
gorge. 

The rich Shahinian family of Sivas, father, sons and one 
daughter, the fourteen-year-old Khanum, escaped the authorities, 
who wanted to capture them, and fought for four hours at the 
entrance of a narrow mountain pass against considerable odds. 
They were all killed, however, when they ran short of their 
cartridges. 

I could prolong the story of these acts of desperate bravery 
on the one side and of murderous frenzy on the other. The grim 
reality of these horrible crimes was forcibly brought home to me 
when, in the course of my interview with Murad, some girls and 
young men, Armenians of Sivas, who were anxious to hear some- 
thing of the dear ones they had left before the war, came to see 
Murad. They inquired about their relatives and friends, and 
Murad told them how and when they had been killed or deported. 
The percentage of murders, at any rate in the cases inquired into 
on this occasion, was much higher than that of the deportations. 
One of the girls present, on being told that everyone she had in- 
quired about had been killed, was terribly overcome ; yet she 
succeeded in suppressing her strong emotion, and nerved herself to 
take a solemn oath of remembrance, which was shared by all 
present. 



[82] 



X. 



SANDJAK OF KAISARIA. 

The Sandja/c of Kaisaria is an outlying sub-division of the 
Vilayet of Angora. It lies under the shadow of the Erdjies Dagh 
{Mount Argaios), and bestrides the course of the Kizil Irmak imme- 
diately below Sivas. 

We have compo.ratively little testimony concerning the occurrences 
in this district, but the documents contained in this section show 
in sufficient outline what happened at Kaisaria itself, as well as at 
Everek and K., the only other centres of importance. 



AA 



328 KAISARIA, " BALKANIAN MAMOUL," OF ROUSTCHOUK, 



83. KAISARIA : STATEMENT BY A TRAVELLER* FROM KAISARIA, 
PUBLISHED IN THE ARMENIAN JOURNAL "BALKANIAN 
MAMOUL," OF ROUSTCHOUK. 

The Armenians of the Kaisaria district, with the exception 
of Talas, have been deported. At the end of July the Govern- 
ment issued the following manifesto to the Armenians of Talas 
and Kaisaria : — 

" (i) All the Armenians are to leave in batches of 1,000 — the 
men, separated from the women, in one direction and the women 
in another. 

" (ii) No one is to take with him more than 200 piastres 
(£1 135. 4(Z.). If, after examination, anyone proves to have more 
than this, he will be brought before a Council of War. 
" (iii) No one has the right to sell his property, etc.f" 
After urgent petitions this latter condition was modified as 
follows : — 

" Anyone who has no ready money is authorised to sell 
property up to a maximum of 300 piastres." 

Up till now more than 80 persons have been hanged at 
Kaisaria, including doctors and other notables such as 
Hampartsoum and Boyadjian Mourad of the Huntchakist Party. 

The relations of the victims themselves were compelled to 
take down the corpses from the gallows. 

Only the women and girls were permitted to go over to 
Islam. When the Governor was petitioned to allow the infants 
to be entrusted to charitable Moslem famihes, to save them from 
dying on the journey, he rephed : — 

" I will not leave here so much as the odour of the Armenians ; 
go away into the deserts of Arabia and dump your Armenia 
there." 



* Name withheld. 

t For other versions of the official proclamation see Doc. 120 and 
Annexe C. to the " Historical Summary." 

[83] 



KVEnnK. ' GOTCil.yAG:' 2Slh AUGUST, 1916. 



329 



£4. EVEREK : STATEMENT* PUBLISHED IN THE ARMENIAN 
JOURNAL " GOTCHNAG," OF NEW YORK, 28th AUGUST, 1915. 

Ab Everek a bomb explosion was the signal for a terrible 
persecution of the Armenians. The German who narrates this 
adds that the Governor of Everek was a good man, and was 
therefore relieved of his duties and replaced by a Circassian of 
violent character. There had been numerous arrests and 
atrocities in this district. After that, the wholesale deportations 
were begun. 



AA 2 



330 



TOWN OF K. FOREIGN RESIDENT. 



85. K. : LETTER FROM A FOREIGN RESIDENT AT K., DATED 16th 
NOVEMBER, 1915 ; COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN 
COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF. 

I wish to confirm my telegram in Turkish dated the 12th 
November, stating that the authorities had begun to send away 
our Armenian teachers, and that we did not understand the reason 
for this. 

I must now add to this that all our Armenian teachers have 
been deported, having left for the south by wagon yesterday. 
Two of them had been started in another direction last week, 
but were brought back to go south. One of these, however, had 
become insane from fright, and is left temporarily in our hands. 
It is doubtful whether he can recover under present conditions. 

Our local Mudir gives us assurances that our school and pupils 
will not be interfered with, and we are going on as best we can, 
loading most of the extra work on to ourselves and our Greek 
teachers. Children of Armenian parents who have changed their 
faith are leaving, but so far others remain. What to do with 
children left on our hands without support is a serious problem. 

The head of the orphanage at J. has left also, and I under- 
stand that the institution is in a very precarious, chaotic con- 
dition. What the outcome will be I do not know. 

The members of our Armenian circle are well, but the long- 
drawn-out nervous strain is teUing on some. Routine school 
work has not been stopped for an hour, and goes on quietly, as 
if nothing whatever were happening about us. But to accom- 
phsh this, some quick shifts have had to be made, and, as our 
Turkish friends say, " Idare-i-maslahat." 



[85] 



XI. 



THE TOWN OF X. 

We are better informed as to what happened in this town than in 
regard to any other place where the Ottoman Government's design 
against the Armenians tvas put into execution. The documents 
relating to it, contained in this section, are so full of personal detail 
that it has been necessary, in consideration for the safety of those 
concerned, to conceal the tovm's identity, though in this case, as 
in others, it is almost impossible to disguise it effectively to anyone 
acquainted with Asiatic Turkey. 

The people of X. were a very typical Armenian urban community ^ 
and the story of their destruction represents, in its main features, what 
happened to innumerable other Armenian communities throughout 
the Ottoman Empire. The only peculiar feature at X. was the 
extent to which forcible conversion was attempted by the local 
authorities. It may also be noted that here, as at Trebizond, there 
was no intention of forwarding the exiles to their nominal destination. 
The convoys were butchered en masse as soon as they reached the 
next town on the road. 



TOWN Ob' X. 



86. X. : NARRATIVE OF THE PRINCIPAL OP THE COLLEGE AT X., 
COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR 
ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF. 

The trouble for the Armenians began, as for all other nation- 
alities, with the collection of soldiers. The Government swept 
off all men possible for mihtary service. Hundreds of the bread- 
winners marched away, leaving their wives and children without 
means of support. In many cases, the last bit of money was given 
to fit out the departing soldier, leaving the family in a pitifully 
destitute condition. A number of Armenians were quite well off 
and paid their military exemption fee. A much larger number 
escaped in one way and another, so there were more Armenians 
than Turks left in the city after the soldiers had gone. This 
made the Government suspicious and fearful. The discovery of 
Armenian plots against the Government in other places added 
to this feeling. 

The special Armenian troubles began in the beginning of May. 
In the middle of the night, about twenty of the leading men of 
the national Armenian political * parties were gathered up and 
sent to where they have been imprisoned ever since. In June 
the Government began looking for weapons. Some of the 
Armenians were seized, and, by torture, the confession was ex- 
tracted that a large number of arms were in the hands of different 
Armenians. A second inquisition began. The bastinado was 
used frequently, as well as fire torture (in some cases eyes are 
said to have been put out). Many guns were delivered up, but 
not all. The people were afraid that, if they gave up their arms, 
they would be massacred as in 1895. Arms had been brought in 
after the declaration of the Constitution with the permission of 
the Government, and were for self-defence only. The torture 
continued, and under its influence one fact after another leaked 
out. Under the nervous strain and physical suffering, many 
things were said which had no foundation in fact. Those inflict- 
ing the torture would tell the victim what they expected him 
to confess, and then beat him until he did it. The college mechanic 
had constructed an iron " shot " for the athletic games, and was 
beaten terribly in an effort to fasten the making of bombs on 
to the college. Some bombs were discovered in the Armenian 
cemetery, which aroused the fury of the Turks to white heat. It 
should be said that it is very probable that these bombs had been 
buried there in the days of Abd-ul-Hamid. 

On Saturday, the 26th June, about 1 p.m., the gendarmes 
went through the town gathering up all the Armenian men they 
could find — old and young, rich and poor, sick and well. In 
some cases houses were broken into, and sick men dragged from 
their beds. They were imprisoned in the barracks, and during 
the next few days were sent off towards Y. in batches of from thirty 
to one hundred and fifty. They were sent on foot, and many 
were robbed of shoes aacl other articles of clothing. Some were 



PRINCIPAL OF THE COLLEGE. 



333 



in chains. The first batch reached Y. and sent word from various 
places. (It is said that this was a scheme of the Government in 
order to encourage the rest. None of the rest have been heard 
from. Various reports have been circulated, the only one 
generally accepted being that they were killed. One Greek 
driver reported seeing the mound under which they were buried. 
Another man, in touch with the Government, in answer to a 
direct question, admitted that the men had been killed.) 

Through the intervention of a Turk, the college was able to 
free those of its teachers already taken, and obtain a stay of pro- 
ceedings against all its teachers and employees, by the payment 
of the sum of 275 Turkish liras. Later, this same Turk said that 
he believed that he could obtain the permanent exemption of the 
entire college group by the payment of a further sum of 300 liras. 
The money was promised, but after some negotiations, which 
showed that no definite assurance of exemption would be forth- 
coming, the matter was dropped. 

Following the sending of the batches of Armenians in the 
direction of Y., criers went through the streets of the town 
announcing that all male Armenians between the ages of fifteen 
and seventy were to report at the barracks. The announcement 
further stated that their refusal to obey would result in their 
being killed and their houses being burned. The Armenian 
priests went from house to house, advising the people to obey 
this announcement. Those reporting at the barracks were sent 
away in batches, the result being that within a few days practically 
all the Armenian men were removed from the city. 

On the 3rd or 4th July, the order was issued that the women 
and children should be ready to leave on the following Wednesday. 
The people were informed that one ox-cart was to be provided 
by the Government for each house, and that they could carry 
only one day's food supply, a few piastres, and a small bundle of 
clothing. The people made preparation for carrying out these 
orders by selling whatever household possessions they could in 
the streets. Articles were sold at less than 10 per cent, of their 
usual value, and Turks from the neighbouring villages filled the 
streets, hunting for bargains. In some places these Turks took 
articles by force, but the Government punished all such cases 
when detected. 

On the 5th July, before the order for the expulsion of the women 
was carried out, one of our staff went to the Government to protest 
against the execution of this order in the name of humanity. 
He was told that this order did not originate with the local officials, 
but that the orders had come from those higher up not to leave 
a single Armenian in the city. The commandant, however, 
promised to leave the college to the last, and gave permission 
for all people connected with the American institutions to move 
into the college compound. This they did, and at one time 

[86] 



334 



TOWN OF X. 



over three hundred Armenians were Hving on the college 
premises. 

The population had been ordered to be ready to start on 
Wednesday. But on Tuesday, about 3.30 a.m., the ox-carts 
appeared at the doors of the first district to be removed, and the 
people were ordered to start at once. Some were dragged from 
their beds without even sufficient clothing. All the morning the 
ox-carts creaked out of the town, laden with women and children 
and, here and there, a man who had escaped the previous deporta- 
tions. The women and girls all wore the Turkish costume, that 
their faces might not be exposed to the gaze of drivers and 
gendarmes — a brutal lot of men brought in from other regions. 
In many cases the husbands and brothers of these same women 
were away in the army, fighting for the Turkish Government. 

The panic in the city was terrible. The people felt that the 
Government was determined to exterminate the Armenian race, 
and they were powerless to resist. The people were sure that 
the men were being killed and the women kidnapped. Many of 
the convicts in the prison had been released, and the mountains 
round X. were full of bands of outlaws. It was feared that the 
women and children were taken some distance from the city and 
left to the mercy of these men. However that may be, there are 
provable cases of the kidnapping of attractive young girls by the 
Turkish officials of X. One Moslem reported that a gendarme 
had offered to sell him two girls for a medjidia.* The women 
beheved that they were going to worse than death, and many 
carried poison in their pockets to use if necessary. Some carried 
picks and shovels to bury those they knew would die by the 
wayside. During this reign of terror, notice was given that 
escape was easy — that anyone who accepted Islam would be 
allowed to remain safely at home. The offices of the lawyers 
who recorded apphcations were crowded with people petitioning 
to become Mohammedans. Many did it for the sake of their 
women and children, feehng that it would be a matter of only a 
few weeks before rehef would come. 

This deportation continued at intervals for about two weeks. 
It is estimated that, out of about 12,000 Armenians in X., only 
a few hundred were left. Even those who offered to accept Islam 
were sent away. At the time of writing, no definite word has 
been heard^'from any of these batches. (One Greek driver reported 
that, at a httle village a few hours from X., the few men were 
separated from the women, beaten and chained, and sent on in a 
separate batch. A Turkish driver reported seeing the convoy 
two days journey from X. The people were so covered with 
dust that features were scarcely distinguishable.) Even if the 
lives of these exiles are being protected, it is a question how many 
will be able to endure the hardships of the journey over the hot, 

* About 3s. 2d, 

m 



PRINCIPAL OF THE COLLEGE. 



335 



dusty hills, with no protection from the sun, with poor food and 
little water, and the ever-present fear of death, or some worse 
fate. 

Most of the Armenians in the X. district were absolutely 
hopeless. Many said that it was worse than a massacre. No 
one knew what was coming, but all felt that it was the end. 
Even the pastors and leaders could offer no word of encourage- 
ment or hope. Many began to doubt even the existence of God. 
Under the severe strain many individuals became demented, 
some of them permanently. There were also some examples of 
the greatest heroism and faith, and some started out on the journey 
courageously and calmly, saying in farewell : " Pray for us. We 
shall not see you again in this world, but sometime we shall meet 
again." 



[86] 



TOWN OF X. 



87. X. : ADDRESS DELIVERED IN AMERICA, 13th DECEMBER, 
1915, BY A PROFESSOR FROM THE COLLEGE AT X. ; COM- 
MUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN 
AND SYRIAN RELIEF. 

On the 1st June of this year (1915), the town in Asiatic Turkey 
from which I come had a population of 25,000, half of which was 
Armenian and the other half Turkish. When I left X. on the 
18th August, the 12,000 Armenians, who comprised the 
Armenian half of the city's population, had either been driven 
into exile or done to death. What happened to the Armenians 
of X. is but a specimen of what has happened to these poor 
people in every other city of Asia Minor and Armenia. 

Over fifty years ago, the American Board of Commissioners 
for Foreign Missions established a mission station at X., which 
during the intervening years had grown into an important 
religious, educational and medical centre. We had there a boys' 
college with 425 students, nearly all of whom were boarders, who 
came from all parts of Asia ]\Iino'r, from the Balkan States and 
from Russia. We also had a girls' boarding school with 276 
pupils enrolled. Besides these we had a large hospital, which 
had recently been newly equipped at great expense. Here the 
American physician and the Armenian nurses, in addition to the 
ordinary large work of the hospital, were caring for sick soldiers 
of the Ottoman Army under the auspices of the American Red 
Cross Society. About half the constituency of these three 
institutions was Armenian. More than half the teachers and 
professors in the schools and nearly all the nurses of the hospital 
belonged to that same race, which all through the Christian 
centuries has been the vanguard of Christian civiUsation on the 
frontiers of Christendom against the heathen and Mohammedan 
hosts of Asia, and which has been the first to respond to and 
co-operate with modern missionary effort in the Near East. 

Now there remains not a single Armenian teacher or pupil in 
our mission college at X., out of the more than 200 who were 
there before the war began. AD have been sent away by the 
order of the highest Government authorities, into exile or to 
death. With unspeakable brutality, the innocent young women 
teachers and pupils of the girls' school, who were remaining in 
the school for the summer vacation on account of the difficulties 
of travelling to their homes, were carried off by the Turkish 
gendarmes under Government orders ; but with^equal heroism 
and courage the American principal of the girls' school rescued 
41 of them from death, or a condition worse than that, after nearly 
a month's pursuit over rough and dangerous roads. 

With insensate cruelty and wickedness, the young women 
nurses of the hospital, who were risking their lives in nursing 
soldiers of the Turkish Army sick with the deadly typhus^fever, 
were driven away by the gendarmes ust like the rest of their 
unfortunate sisters. The American physician in charge of our 

[87] 



PROFESSOR OF THE COLLEGE. 



337 



hospital begged the Turkish officers in charge of the deportation 
to spare the nurses who were serving their own soldiers. These 
officers declared that they were ordered by their superiors 
to make no exceptions whatsoever ; but, because the doctor 
begged so hard, four out of the dozen nurses would be allowed to 
remain temporarily and continue their work of mercy. That 
left the doctor to perform the heart-rending task of selecting 
those who should ^o and those who should remain. It was like 
casting pearls before swine when he made them draw lots to decide 
their fate. Some of the best and most experienced nurses drew 
lots to go. One who held a diploma from one of the leading 
London hospitals, who was a pioneer in the nurses' profession in 
Asia Minor, and who was known as the Florence Nightingale of 
Armenia, was taken away with the young women of the girls' 
school. She was not rescued with the 41 fortunate ones. 
Though great in soul, she was lame and not comely in form, and 
on this account she has probably been allowed to perish by the 
way instead of being reserved for a life of shame. 

It is now my purpose to show you, as best I can, by narrating 
facts out of my recent experience at X. in connection with these 
events, how the work of this great mission station in Asia Minor, 
a work in which I have been engaged as a missionary for ten 
years, a work in which hundreds of our American people have a 
deep and personal interest, and in which they have invested 
hundreds of thousands of dollars of their hard-earned money 
and the life work of a score of devoted missionaries, was suddenly 
and brutally interrupted by the Turkish Government on the 
10th and 12th August of this year. You will see, incidentally, how 
this work of destruction illustrates the deep laid and carefully 
executed plans of the Turkish Government for the assassination 
and annihilation of the Armenian people. You will see how that 
Government scorned and flouted all the efforts of the missionaries 
and of the diplomatic representatives of our Government to save 
the lives and the honour of innocent women and girls. You will 
also see how it is possible for Christian men and women to bear 
faithful witness to their faith in this twentieth Christian century 
in a persecution not less in intensity, and greater in magnitude, 
than any that was ever inflicted on the early Christian martyrs 
by the most cruel of the pagan Roman emperors. It may astonish 
you to hear it, but it is true nevertheless, that there are living 
in the world to-day men who are the equals of Nero in cruelty. 

On my way from X. to Constantinople,* I saw at least 50,000 
people, three-fourths of whom were women and children, who 
had been torn from their homes and all their earthly possessions, 
and driven into the fields along the railway line without any 
shelter or any adequate means of subsistence, hungry, sick and 
perishing, awaiting the conveniences of the railway traffic to be 

* The Mdtness started from X. on the 18th K\\g\xst.,~Preliminary Report 
daied 1th October, 1915, from the witness' hand. 

[871 



338 



TOWN OF X. 



crowded like sheep into the goods trucks, to be carried away east- 
ward to die in the deserts, if they did not perish or disappear in 
Turkish harems on the way. I saw hundreds of mothers whose 
hearts were being broken by the cries of their hungry children, 
whom they had no hope of being able to succour or to save. 
The officials of the German railway were co-operating with the 
corrupt officials of the Turkish Government to extort all the 
money they could from this doleful throng. The 50,000 whom 
I saw represented but a brief section of the procession which has 
been passing along that way for months.* A very moderate 
estimate of the number of people who have perished in this way 
places the figure at 500,000 ; and still they go on ! 

I have received the farewell kiss and jDarting embrace of men, 
cultured Christian gentlemen, some of whom held university 
degrees from our best American institutions in this country, 
men with whom I have co-operated and at whose side I have 
laboured for ten years in the work of education in that land, 
while at their side stood brutal gendarmes, sent there by the 
highest authorities of the Government to drive them away with 
their wives, and children from their homes, from their work, and 
from all the associations which they held most dear, into exile 
or to death, and some of them to a condition worse than either. 
We had no better friends in this world than those peojjle were. 
To part with them under such circumstances was harder than 
I can say, and yet but few tears were shed on either side. Our 
feelings were too deep for idle tears ! I have often seen pictures 
of the early Christian martyrs crouching together in the arena 
of the CoHseum, expecting at any moment to be torn in pieces 
by the hungry Hons which were being turned loose upon them, 
while the eager spectators were watching from their safe seats, 
and waiting to be amused by that spectacle. And I had supposed 
that such cruelties and such amusements were impossible in this 
twentieth Christian century. But I was mistaken. I have seen 
62 Armenian women and girls, between the ages of 15 and 25, 
huddled together in the rooms of the principal of our American 
girls' school at X., while outside were waiting men more cruel 
than beasts, ready to carry them off ; and these men were demand- 
ing, backed by the highest authorities of the Government, that we 
should dehver these defenceless girls into their brutal hands, 
for them to do with them what they would. I had supposed 
that there was no man in the world to-day who could be amused 
by such a spectacle as that. In this, too, I was mistaken, 
for when the wife of our American Ambassador at Constantinople 
made a personal appeal to Talaat Bey, the][^]\Iinister of the 
Interior in the Turkish Cabinet — the man who more than 
anyone else has devised and executed this deportation of the 
Armenians, and who has boasted that he has been able to destroy 

* " At Mirkedjia alone, the station-master told us there were 30,00Q 
©j^iles. Many were weak from hunger, others almost dead/'— P./?. 

[87] 



PROFESSOR OF THE COLLEGE. 



339 



more Armenians in 30 days than Abd-ul-Hamid was able to 
destroy in 30 years — when she made an appeal to this Turkish 
Minister, begging him to stop this cruel persecution of Armenian 
women and girls, the only answer she got from him was : " All 
this amuses us ! " 

I will now narrate some of the more important events leading 
up to this climax. 

We were surprised on the morning of the last Wednesday in 
April to learn that the professor of Armenian in our college had 
been arrested during the previous night along with a number* of 
the other leading Armenians of the city. We found upon inquiry 
that all these men were or had been members of one or the 
other of the Armenian nationalist societies, the Hunchakists or 
the Dashnakistsf. These societies had a legal existence under 
the Turkish Goviernment. They had up till quite recently been 
on good terms with the Government of the Young Turks. They 
co-operated with the party of Union and Progress in overthrowing 
the tyranny of Abd-ul-Hamid in 1908. They desired to co-operate 
with the Turks in establishing an enlightened constitutional 
Government in Turkey. But recently, when the policy of 
destroying the Armenians was determined upon, it seems that 
the Government thought it advisable to hit the leading members 
of the Armenian nationalist societies first. A number of the 
prominent members of these societies were hanged in Con- 
stantinople. Those arrested in our city were held in prison for a 
few days. Then they were sent to the capital of the province, 
where they were tortured and exposed to the contagion of typhus 
fever. Within six weeks of their arrest, their families received 
notice through the Government officials that not any of them re- 
mained alive. The wife of our professor was a cultured young 
woman, who had taught for years in our girls' school. She was left 
a widow with one child, a little girl. She remained alone in her 
home, but not for long ; for, some weeks after, when all the 
people were deported from her quarter of the city, she was carried 
away along with the rest. I saw her, dressed in the costume of 
a Turkish w^oman, leading her little girl by the hand as she passed 
by our college gate on the morning she was driven out, with 
hundreds of other women and children, on to the roads, to be 
captured or to die. 

During the month of May, the Government was active in 
enlisting into the Army the Armenian young men whom they had 
not already enrolled. The majority of them were already serving 
under the colours, having been called out in the early months of 
the war. Some of our Armenian students had already been 
advanced to the position of officers in the Turkish Army because 
of their superior education and intelligence. Those who remained 
were now being called out and sent away. Some, who could 

* " Twenty-five."— 

t " This Professor had reUnquished his association with this society 
before entering our employment." — P.R. 

[87] 



TOWN OF X. 



afford it, paid the exemption tax of £44 (Turkish — about 
£40 sterHng), and remained at home. Those who went with these 
last contingents, as a rule, were not allowed to bear arms, but were 
forced to do menial labour, such as building roads and carrying 
t>aggage, most of the horses and donkeys which had been 
requisitioned from the poor people in the early months of the war 
having died from rough usage or neglect. 

In the month of June the Government repeatedly published 
an edict, by criers in the streets, ordering all the people to give 
up their weapons of every kind to the poHce. It was not at all 
strange that the Armenians should possess some weapons. It 
was the custom of the country, because of the insecurity of life 
and property there, for all who could a£ford it to possess some 
means of self-defence. It was obvious that this order was 
intended only for the Armenians, as they alone were compelled 
to obey it, whereas their Mohammedan neighbours, who possessed 
at least as many weapons as they did, were not compelled to 
obey it. This fact aroused the suspicions of the Armenians, 
because they remembered that on previous occasions, when the 
Turks contemplated a massacre of Armenians, they began by 
disarming them. Many Armenians hesitated on this account to 
give up their arms, and none of them would have done so if 
they had suspected what plans the Turks had in store for them. 
However, the Government took special pains on this occasion to 
reassure the Armenians, promising them protection and security 
if they would give up their arms. They were told that they 
could prove their loyalty only by obeying the order, and they 
were threatened with the severest punishment if they should 
refuse. In spite of many misgivings, most of the Armenians 
gave up their arms ; and some of them, to prove their loyalty, 
actually assisted the Government in disarming their own people. 
Only a very few held out against the order and hid their weapons 
in their houses or in their gardens. Persons suspected of doing 
this were arrested and taken to the Government Building, where 
they were subjected to the cruellest forms of torture. Usually 
they were bound and bastinadoed until they became unconscious. 
Boiling water was often poured on the soles of the feet, to increase 
the pain of the bastinadoing. The victim was usually ordered 
to confess that he was guilty of conspiracy against the Govern- 
ment. Often he was ordered to impUcate others ; and to escape 
the terrible pain of the torture they would say almost anything 
they were told to say. These declarations made under torture 
were used as evidence against others. At least two men of our 
city died under this torture. Two of our own employees were 
subjected to it, the one a gate-keeper and the other a blacksmith, 
who did general repair work about our premises. I saw two 
gendarmes leading this man out of our front gate one afternoon 
in June. They took him to the Government Building. There 
they bound him, and four brutal men stuffed his mouth with 

[87] 



PROFESSOR OF THE COLLEGE. 



filth and beat him with rods all over the body until he became 
unconscious. As soon as he regained consciousness, they repeated 
the process. Apparently their intention was to kill him by 
torture, and they would have done so if it had not been for the 
timely intervention of a friendly gendarme, a Circassian, who had 
been in our employment and who knew the Armenian who was 
being tortured. He intervened and rescued the man from his 
tormentors, and carried him home on his own back after it was 
dark enough to escape observation. He was saved, but not for 
long. When he had recovered, a month after*, he was carried 
away, with his wife and two small children, in the general deporta- 
tion. We learned afterwards that the occasion for this man's 
torture was that he was seen casting a 16-pound shot, which we 
had ordered him to make for our college field-day sports this 
year. The man who saw him reported to the police that he had 
been making bombs ! 

After having weakened the Armenians to the extent of having 
sent most of the young men into the Army, and of having terrorised 
the rest, one night, toward the end of June,f suddenly, without 
any warning, the houses of almost all the Armenians who still 
remained in the city were forcibly entered by the poHce and 
gendarmes. The men were arrested and held as prisoners in the 
soldiers' barracks at one side of the city. The whole number 
amounted to 1,213. Two more of our leading Armenian professors 
were arrested on this occasion. J After being held a few days, a 
very few, by paying very large sums of money§ as bribes to the 
officials, were allowed to become Mohammedans, and were let out, 
to be sent away in a few days in the opposite direction to the rest. 
The rest were told that they were to be sent away into exile to Mosul, 
in the deserts of Mesopotamia, six or seven hundred miles away. 

Now the Government did not intend that any of these men 
should reach that destination. Its purpose was extermination, 
not simply deportation. While they were still held in the 
barracks, the commander of gendarmerie, who had the business 
of their deportation in charge, called at the mission compound, 
and talked freely about the deportation of the Armenians in the 
presence of all the American men in our station. He said that not 
one out of a thousand would ever reach Mosul, and that if any of 
them did arrive there they could not survive, because of the 
hostifity of the nomads in those regions, and because of the 
impossibihty of gaining a livelihood there when deprived of all 
their resources, as these Armenians had been. Orada Christi- 
yanliq olmaz " was the Turkish expression which he used, which 
means : " Over there Christianity is impossible." The Govern- 
ment's purpose was to get rid of Christianity in the Ottoman 

* " He remained unconscious for a day, and could not walk for a month." 
—P.R. 

t " The 26th June."— P. i?. 

X " Professors E. and FF."— P.i?. 

§ " Turkish, in all."— P.P. 

[87] 



342 



TOWN OF X 



Empire by getting rid of the Christians. The mayor of our city 
told our American Consular Agent* that the Government intended 
first to get rid of the Armenians, and then of the Greeks, and 
finally of the foreigners, and so to have Turkey for the Turks. 
Enver Pasha said the same thing to our Ambassador. These 
1,213 men of whom I spoke, after being held for a few days, were 
bound together in small batches of five or six men each and sent 
off at night, in companies of from 50 to 150, under the escort of 
gendarmes. Some 15 miles from the cityt they were set upon 
by the gendarmes and by bandits called chettis, and cruelly 
murdered with axes. These chettis were criminals who had been 
turned loose from the prisons of Constantinople and the cities 
of the interior, and set upon the roads for the express purpose of 
preying upon the Armenians, as they were being driven along the 
roads. One of the gendarmes who helped to drive these 1,213 
men away, boasted to our French teacher that he had killed 50 
Armenians with his own hands, and had obtained from their 
persons £150 Turkish. The chief of the police at X. stated that 
none of these 1,213 men remained alive. Our Consular Agent 
visited the scene of this slaughter in August, J and brought back 
with him Turkish " nufus teskeries," or identification papers, 
taken from the bodies of the victims. I personally saw these 
papers. They were all besmeared with blood.§ 

* "Mr. AW'—P.R. 

t " On the road to \\\"—P.R. 

I " A German farmer reported to our Consular Agent that he had seen 
50 Armenian corpses in a well, and long trenches on the mountain side 
where other victims had been buried." — P.R. 

§ The author of the present address gave further particulars of these men's 
fate to an acquaintance who interviewed him at Athens on his way from Turkey 
to the United States. This gentleman is the author of the letter dated Athens, 
8th /21st July, Doc. 8 of this collection. The information he obtained from his 
interview with the author of the present document is presented in a subsequent 
letter, dated Athens, 1st j 14th October, 1915, from which the following 
paragraph is taken : — 

• " The Kavass of the College, a Circassian, who was ordered to accom- 
pany the deported Armenians, returned a day or two afterwards and told 
how these 1,200 men or more were roped together in rows of five, and were 
marched towards Y. On each side rode zaptiehs with fixed bayonets. 
Those who could not walk were flogged, and finally, when any one of the 
five in a batch could walk no further, the whole five would be made to fall 
out of the procession and several zaptiehs would remain with them, who, 
after ten or twenty minutes, would rejoin the column with the ghost of 
butchery shining in their eyes. Somewhat more than half the prisoners 
reached Y. On their arrival at that tovm a fire broke out in the Armenian 
quarter, and the Turks began looting and massacring the women of Y., 
while the newly arrived prisoners were accused of being the incendiaries, and 
were all led out of the town to a place already prepared. Here the prisoners 
were halted and led in successive batches of five to what appeared to be 
tents. Groans were heard from within, and the prisoners outside, realising 
what was happening, tried to break through the cordon. But they were 
bound hand to hand, and when one or two in any batch had been shot, 
the survivors could only trail the corpses along with them until they gave 
up the effort in exhaustion. They were all picked up afterwards and carried 
off to be butchered. They were butchered with axes." 

[87] 



PROFESSOR OF THE COLLEGE. 



343 



The motive which the Government claimed for all these 
cruelties was military necessity. They said that the Armenians 
were a disloyal element in the population, which it was necessary to 
weaken in order that they might not hit them in the back while 
they were engaged in war with the foreign foe. This was only 
a pretext. The real motive was a compound of religious fanati- 
cism, jealousy, greed for loot and bestial lust. This was evident 
from what followed. If their motive had been to weaken the 
Armenians in order to protect themselves from attack, they had 
succeeded in doing this in a most thorough manner. The 
Armenians were now quite helpless. All the strong men had been 
sent into the Army, or killed, or sent into exile. All that now 
remained were the women and children and old men. But when 
the Government had reduced the Armenians to this helpless 
state, they decided to exterminate the rest. Criers were sent 
through the streets* announcing to the people that all the 
Armenians were to be deported. Not a single person with an 
Armenian name, whether rich or poor, old or young, sick or well, 
male or female, was to be left in the city. They were to have three 
days to prepare to go. 

This announcement produced great consternation among the 
people. They came in great numbers to the mission compound, 
begging us to advise them what to do, bringing their money, 
jewels and other valuables and asking us to keep them for them. 
Some of them offered to give us their children, knowing that it 
would be impossible to keep them alive on that terrible journey. 
The promise of three days was not kept. The very next morning, 
the local pohce with gendarmes well armed with Mauser rifles 
began to enter the Armenian houses, drive the Avomen and children 
into the streets, and lock the doors of their homes behind them and 
seal them with the Government's seal, thus dispossessing them of 
all their worldly possessions. They then assigned four or five 
persons to each of the ox-carts which they had brought with them 
to send the people away with. The carts were not intended to 
carry the people. They had to walk beside them. The carts 
were for carrying a pillow and a single bed-covering for each 
person. When they had gotten from five hundred to a thousand 
persons ready in this maimer, they were set moving, a doleful 
procession, driven by gendarmes along the roads toward the east. 
Morning after morning, during the month of July, we saw groups 
of this kind pass by the college compound, the women carrying 
their babies in their arms and leading their httle children by the 
hand, without anything left in this world, starting on a hopeless 
journey of a thousand miles into the wilderness, to die miserably 
or to be captured by Turks. By the end of July the city had been 
emptied in this manner of its 12,000 Armenian inhabitants. Only 
the Armenians in the mission compound remained. Fearing for 
their safety, we had tried to get into communication with 



* " On the 2nd July."— P.i?. 
[87] 



TOWN OF X 



Constantinople. All our telegrams for this purpose were intercepted 
by the Government. When we complained to the Governor that 
he was cutting us off from communication with our Ambassador, 
he frankly informed us that we would not be allowed to communi- 
cate mth our Ambassador. This had a sinister meaning to us. 
It was a threat not only against the Armenians in our compound, 
but also against us. The Governor had declared consistently from 
the beginning that he would deport all the Armenians in our com- 
pound as soon as it suited his convenience. All channels of com- 
munication having failed, we sent off to Constantinople one of our 
Greek tutors, and following him one of our English tutors, to carry 
information of our situation to our Ambassador in Constantinople. 
They reported the Governor's threats to Mr. Morgenthau. He 
promptly visited Talaat Bey, the Minister of the Interior, and 
Enver Pasha, the Minister of War, and obtained from both these 
men their unqualified assurance that the}^ would send orders to 
the local authorities at X. ordering them to exempt the Armenians 
in our schools and hospital from the general deportation. He 
sent repeated telegrams to this effect to our Consular Agent, 
whom he had ordered to come to X. to look after our interests. In 
this matter these ministers seem to have told a direct lie to our 
Ambassador, or else their subordinate officers refused to obey 
their orders, in which case the country would have been in a state 
of anarchy. But there was no sign of any anarchy in all these 
transactions and dealings with the Armenians. There were no 
mob outbreaks. Everything seemed to be under perfect control 
and to be carried through with military precision. When our 
Consular Agent showed the telegram from our Ambassador to 
the local Governor, he stated that he had received the exact 
contrary orders, and that furthermore he knew that he w^ould not 
receive any other orders. Our Consular Agent, desiring to make 
a full report on the situation to the Ambassador, left for his 
post at L. on the 9th August. 

The next morning, the 10th August, there appeared at the front 
gate of our mission compound the chief of the poHce of the city, 
with the local pohce force and a company of gendarmes and ox- 
carts. They demanded that we should admit them to the com- 
pound and should order the Armenians in our premises to come out 
and get ready to leave. The President of the college reminded 
them of the assurances we had received from Constantinople, and 
said that we could not allow them to enter our premises with our 
consent. If they wished to enter, they would have to use force and 
accept the responsibihty therefor. They rephed that if we dared to 
resist their authority in any way, we would be hanged just like any 
Ottoman subject. The Capitulations had now all been abolished, 
and we no longer had any rights or special privileges. They 
hesitated, however, to use force for a time, and sent one of their 
number to the Governor, asking for instructions. We also sent 
our doctor at the same time to do what he could in our behalf. 



[87] 



PROFESSOR OF THE COLLEGE. 



345 



They met in the Governor's office. The policeman reported to 
the Governor that the Americans were resisting their authority. 
The Governor gave orders to enter the premises by force and take 
out all the Armenians. They gathered up a squad of some 25 
more gendarmes, and returned and entered the compound by 
force. They drove their ox-carts in and unyoked their oxen. It 
was a group of nomads coming to destroy a more civihsed com- 
munity. The gendarmes entered the college buildings and our 
own American residences, and drove out at the end of their rifles 
all the Armenians they could find. Our professors with their 
families were taking refuge in our houses. In the college buildings 
were the Armenian servants and employees connected with the 
institutions. They drove out all these, mth our own personal 
servants, some of them young Armenian women, and assigned 
them to ox-carts just as they had done to the people of the city in 
the days before. They collected 71 people on our college premises 
in this way. When they were ready to go, we took our last sad 
farewell oi these people with whom we had worked for years, 
and among whom were some of the best friends we had in the 
world. They had no adequate food supply. We reminded the 
Governor of their needs, and he promised to detain them over- 
night at the Armenian monastery two miles out of the city, in 
order that a food supply might be got ready. The college bakery 
was kept busy over-night baking hard tack. Early in the 
morning a wagon-load was taken to the monastery, but it was 
found that the Governor had not kept his word. The professors 
and their families had been hurried on as fast as possible. They 
had not been allowed to stop at the monastery. They had been 
driven on without food. We have never heard anything about 
that party from our college compound from that day to this, 
except from some of the gendarmes who took them away. They 
said that the men had been separated from the women out on the 
road, taken to one side and killed. The women had been sent 
on, to be disposed of as those who went before had been. 

Two days after, on the 12th August, the chief of the police, with 
the local police force and a few gendarmes, came to the mission 
compound again and demanded the young women of the girls' 
school. The whole forenoon was spent by the missionaries in 
arguing with the police, and in trying to prevent them from 
taking the young women away. The Principal at one time 
thought it would be better to have them all shot in the school 
garden than to give them into the hands of those brutal men. 
When further resistance proved useless, the girls were prepared 
for the journey with food, clothing and money. Their American 
principal* tried to get permission to go with them. This was 
denied at first. Afterwards she was allowed to go as far as Y., 
the first day's journey. Fourteen wagons bore away the 62 young 
women from the school compound at two o'clock in the afternoon 



* " Miss K."—P.R. 
[87] 



BB2 



346 



TOWN OF X. 



of the 1 2th August. Some beastly looking gendarmes were escort- 
ing them. At the edge of the city the procession was halted. 
VV hile they waited, the Governor sent for the President of the 
college to come out and mtness what was done, in order, as he said, 
tliat he might see that no undue pressure was brought to bear upon 
these young women to change their faith. The poKce asked each 
ot the young women whether they would deny their faith and 
become Mohammedans, to save themselves from that terrible 
journey. All 62 refused. Two miles out on the road the same 
tnnig was repeated. AH refused again. The first night they 
reached Y., and were kept in a field by the city over-night. The 
next mormng the American principal furnished them with an 
^^^^ ^^PP^y food and money, and then the Governor of Y. 
ordered her to leave the girls and return home. She arrived back 
at A. on the evening of the 13th August very sad, expecting never 
to see any of her girls again. After four days she was granted 
permission to visit the Governor of the Province at Z., hoping 
slie might be able to persuade him to order the return of her 
f A u ^^"ght up with the party just this side of Z. She 
lound that 21 of the 62 girls had been carried away and 
lost— 41 still remained. These she was allowed to take to 
the compound of the American school in Z.* While they were 
waiting there, she succeeded in persuading the Governor to allow 
ner to take the 41 remaining girls back to X. The party arrived 
back there on the 6th September, after nearly a month's absence on 
the road. Thus these brutal men were cheated out of some of 
their choicest prey. These 41 girls were all that were left of the 
city s 12,000 Armenian inhabitants who had not been exiled or 
killed or compelled to turn Mohammedan. What happened at 
A. is but a specimen of what happened to everv other toAvn in 
Asia Minor.f 

Now the question arises— What do we think about all this, and 
how do we feel ? We all know what we think and how we feel, 
-but the more practical question— What are we going to do about 
It . is more difficult to answer. Most of these people are beyond 
our help. But small groups such as I have described still remain 
in some of our mission stations, which are accessible to help 
through our Board. Many have escaped to Russia, where they are 
accessible to help through the Armenian Relief Committee. 
I hese poor people deserve our help. 



* " At Z the servants were separated from the teachers and pupils 
and sent southwards towards V."— P.i?. 

simi] 
—P. 

[87J 



r.^Ji'\J^^ ^V\r^K.}^- similarly emptied of its Armenian 

population ; also Y , BT. and U."— P./?. 



PROFESSOR OF THE COLLEGE. 



347 



The Preliminary Report by the same author contains certain 
passages not included in the preceding Address, which give 
additional information and are therefore appended here. 

{a) The nervous strain and mental agony which our people 
had to endure during the month of July was terrible. They 
were hanging suspended between the hope that the American 
Ambassador would be able to do something for them and the 
fear that they might at any time have to suffer the terrible fate 
of those that had gone on before them. This dread of what 
might befall his wife and daughter made one of our professors 
temporarily insane. All were tormented with the terrible 
temptation to save themselves by denying their faith. They 
reasoned with themselves that they could profess Islam with 
the mental reservation that, as soon as the storm was over, they 
would again outwardly profess their loyalty to their true faith. 
About fifty members of the Protestant church and congregation 
yielded to this temptation, as did also a larger number of the 
Gregorians. Merely declaring their wish to become Mohamme- 
dans by no means insured their safety. Only the rich and 
powerful, and those few whom the Governor thought he could 
use to advantage, were accepted upon the payment of large sums 
of money. He was said, on good authority, to have enriched 
himself by £20,000 (Turkish) in this way. Many who professed 
Islam and paid money were deported, but usually in the opposite 
direction and with the understanding that they might return to 
their homes after a time. Some of these new recruits to Islam 
seemed to have their characters completely undermined. In 
order to show their loyalty to their new faith, they assisted the 
persecutors of their own people. One of our students, the son 
of the richest man in the city, who became a Mohammedan, stood 
at our gate on the day that the professors and students were 
deported and actually informed the gendarmes that one of the 
young men who had been his fellow student was missing. They 
went back and found him. 

(6) On the 11th August, a Turkish doctor, who was the medical 
instructor for the Vilayet of Z., called on us and stated that he 
did not approve of the deportation of women and children, and 
that he would try to save three Armenian girls by taking them with 
him to Constantinople. One of the teachers of the girls' school, 
a nurse from the hospital and a pupil of the girls' school, whose 
home was in Constantinople, ventured to accept his offer. They 
prepared themselves for the journey by dressing themselves in 
Turkish women's costumes, so as not to attract any attention 
along the road. On the first night of their journey, this doctor 
tried to force these three young women to become Mohammedans 
and enter the houses of his friends. He persisted in his arguments 
through the whole of the first night, but they stood firm, and 
then he declared that he would send them back to X., and give 

[87j 



848 



TOWN OF X. PROFESSOR OF THE COLLEGE. 



them into the possession of the Turkish officials there who desired 
them. The next morning he sent them back under the charge 
of his servant. On the road back to X. they met the convoy- 
carrying away the girls from the girls' school, and made themselves 
known by crying out to Miss A., who went to their assistance, 
and learned what had befallen them during the night. They 
begged Miss A. to get their release, in order that they might go 
off into exile with the rest of the girls and teachers ; and the 
young men who had them in charge deUvered them over into 
Miss A.'s charge, she signing a receipt that she had received them. 
They declared that even exile and the terrible things that might 
befall them by the way seemed like heaven to them after the 
experiences they had gone through the previous night. I tried 
for a month to get permission to bring the teacher in this party 
with us to America before slie was carried away, but even the 
efforts of the American Ambassador on her behalf were unavaihng. 



The following passage is taken from the letter {dated 1st jlUh 
October f 1915, and written by an acquaintance who interviewed the 
author of the preceding Address at Athens) which has been quoted 
already in a preceding footnote. 

Two famihes accepted Mohammedanism at the beginning. 
One was the family of Professor B. with his three grown-up 
daughters, who were immediately required to marry Turks ; the 
other was the family of Mr. C, a notable of the town. Both 
families were Protestants. The authorities allowed D.'s family 
to remain at X., as they wanted D. to take photographs of the 
bombs and guns found in the possession of the rebels " — all 
such guns and bombs having been specially placed by the 
authorities to be photographed. D. found Ufe unbearable as a 
Christian and also accepted Mohammedanism after some time. 
Professors E. and F., both of whose mothers are Germans, 
from the German colony of M., near Y., were rescued by the 
German colonists, and remained with them up to the time my 
friend (the author of the preceding Address) left X. The Kaima- 
kam of X. said that they had only escaped for the moment, and 
that he would get at them, too, in the end. 

Two Turks of X. were hanged for sheltering or offering to 
shelter some Armenian friends of theirs. 



[87] 



TOWN OF X. 



STATEMENT BY MISS A A. 



349 



88. X. : STATEMENT BY MISS AA., A FOREIGN TRAVELLER IN 
TURKEY ; COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE 
FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF. 

The feud between the Armenians and the Turks is of very 
long standing. The Armenian nation is the only one of all the 
peoples conquered by the Turkish nation which has not yielded 
to the demand of the Turkish Government that they should give 
up their religion and become Mohammedans. When the relations 
between the two nations became settled after their many wars, 
the Armenians were given much religious freedom, but with that 
freedom came also many oppressive measures which have been 
very hard to bear. The Armenian, through all the centuries, 
has been exempt from mihtary service. In place of that, each 
male member of the Armenian famihes paid a small poll-tax. 
This freedom from mihtary service gave the young men an 
opportunity to engage in trade. 

The nation is a nation of great traders. They travel easily 
and are keen in every financial relation. As a result, when the 
young Turks came back from their mihtary service they found in 
all the large cities that the young Armenians had seized all the 
opportunities in trade. The soldiers have always felt that they 
had the right to loot these unfortunate persons, and this has been 
most systematically done for centuries. 

When Hurief^ came in, the privilege of military service was 
given to the Armenians, and it was announced in many pubUc 
meetings that the fraternity between Armenians and Turks was 
to be complete. 

Before this time, the Armenians had not been allowed to carry 
arms, but the Committee of Union and Progress advised them to 
carry personal arms, as the Turks had done for many years. 
There have been among the Armenians what have been called 
" National Societies." These societies have been more or less 
revolutionary and nihilistic in character, but they have also been 
very useful in promoting the advancement and education of the 
Armenian people, and since Huriet their revolutionary propaganda 
has been very much lessened. But it was these societies that 
furnished arms for the men who could afford to pay for them, 
and it is claimed by the Turkish Government that they also hid 
in various cities bombs and reserve arms, which were to be used 
against the Turkish Government when opportunity arose. 

In many cities such bombs have been found hidden. It is 
very difficult to find absolute evidence for the truth of political 
statements made by any party in Turkey, but it is true that these 
revolutionary societies had, in certain centres, hidden bombs 
for the defence of the people. Whether their plans included 
definite insurrection or not, I do not know ; if so, they were most 
inadequate. 

* The Constitution of 1908.— Editor. 
[88] 



350 



TOWN OF X. 



The history of the Armenians in Turkey has not merely 
consisted in exposure to great financial losses, but, at intervals 
of about 20 years, the Turks have risen against them in greater 
or lesser massacres. In the border towns, their daughters have 
been carried away ; their flocks have been at the mercy of the 
Kurds ; their houses have been taken by any powerful Sheikh 
who wished to do so, £tnd they have never been allowed justice 
in the courts. 

With this history behind them, it is not astonishing that they 
had no faith in the promises of fraternity from the party of Union 
and Progress, and their arms could easily be explained as being 
a means of protection against Turkish attack, should a massacre 
arise. 

When Turkey entered this war, the Armenians were con- 
scripted with the, Turks, but a large number of the people had 
money with which to pay the £40 which would exempt them from 
miUtary service. In X., out of the 5,000 soldiers that were sent 
off, 4,000 were Turks and 1,000 Armenians, while the proportion 
of Turks and Armenians in the population of the place is about 
even. It meant, of course, that many more Armenian men were 
left in the place than Turks. The Turks claimed that this was 
a menace to the safety of the city and also of the country. They 
began to oppress the Armenians by requisitioning from them large 
quantities of cloth, for clothing the Army, and food. Their 
stores were practically emptied of everything that could be used 
by the Army. Horses, wagons, donkeys were all taken, and no 
money was paid ; a promissory paper was given, but no one 
valued it. 

About eight months after the beginning of the war, a notice 
was served on all Armenians that they must give up their arms. 
The reason for this was stated to be that there were so many 
more Armenians than Turks left in the country and that the 
nation was known to be revolutionary. This political difficulty 
was being anticipated by the Government, which was in no 
condition to meet an inter-racial revolution. 

At other times, just before a massacre, arms had been 
demanded from the Armenians, and so when this order was 
given great fear took possession of the people. The Government 
promised in pubhc and private that no harm should come to the 
Armenians, and that this was only a war measure and a legitimate 
protection to the nation. The Armenians, however, gave up 
their arms very reluctantly and very slowly. 

But suddenly one night a batch of about 20 men were arrested 
and sent, after a day or two's imprisonment, to Z., the seat of 
the VaH for the whole province. This was immediately followed 
by the imprisonment of other leaders among the Armenians 
of the city. These men were tortured cruelly. Meanwhile 
what was going on in X. was being duplicated in all other cities. 
I saw some of the men who had been released, after they had 

[88] 



STATEMENT BY MISS A A. 



351 



been exhausted by torture. They had been thrown into a 
dungeon and kept without food, then beaten on their backs and 
the soles of their feet, and, when the flesh was sensitive, hot water 
had been poured on them and they had been beaten again — all 
this in order to make them reveal the whereabouts of the hidden 
arms. When they would not tell, they were made to kneel and 
their arms and feet were bound together ; their mouths were 
filled with manure and all kinds of indignities were poured upon 
them. Some died under the process ; many went mad. Eyes 
and nails were torn out. Some were let go, whether they had 
confessed anything that satisfied the Government or not, but 
many others disappeared entirely. This sort of inquisition went 
on until late in June. 

Some bombs were found in a field, and it is claimed that they 
had been hidden in the houses in the city and then, in fear, 
transferred to this field, where the Government soon afterwards 
found them. 

The Missionaries approached the Government, asking that a 
Committee from the different Armenian communities — Catholic, 
Gregorian and Protestant — might be formed, to collect arms. 
The Government gave permission for this, and promised again 
that no trouble should be given to the Armenians if they gave 
up their arms. The Government told the Committee how many 
rifles ought to be dehvered from that city, and claimed to know 
who had most of them. Representatives of the Committee spoke 
to the people in the churches, and promised that if they would 
deliver their arms to them their names would not be given to the 
Government. The requisite number of rifles were soon collected, 
but, almost immediately, the order for deportation was given. 

First the men were taken, usually from their homes at night, 
and imprisoned in empty barracks. About 400 men were taken 
the first time. The next morning their families were notified 
that they were to be deported, and that, if they wished, they 
could furnish them with food and clothing. So the women got 
together their supphes and carried them to their husbands, 
hoping that they were providing for their needs on a long journey. 
They sold everything they could lay their hands on, and provided 
money for the men. After a few days the men were sent away. 
They were sent at night, bound in fours, about 50 a night. The 
barracks were continually filled with recruits from the city. I 
do not know what became of these men, but I do know that, 
within six hours of the city, there are long ditches and deep wells 
filled with the bodies of Armenians. Their clothing was taken 
from them, as well as those supplies that the women had so 
pathetically prepared, and all their money. 

Officers of the Government have told our friends that the 
official figure for the number of men killed at X. is over 1,300. 
People hke to tell stories in Turkey, and it may be that this is 
not true. 



[88] 



352 



TOWN OF X. 



On the 4th July the deportation order for the women came. 
It had been hoped that they would be allowed to remain. 
At the same time, it was pubHcly announced that people 
could save themselves if they would become Mohammedans. 
Large numbers, it is said 1,000 famihes, put in petitions to the 
Government. Only a small number of these petitions were 
accepted ; the rest of the women and children were rapidly sent 
away. 

Ox-carts were provided, and in some cases wagons, by the 
Government, but the people had to pay the carriage hire ; if not, 
they had to walk. Some people could get donkeys, but, of course, 
the poor went on foot. It was difficult to get wagons and carts, 
and so the people w^ere not all sent out at once. The Government 
scheduled the houses of those who were to go in each company, 
and gave them notice two or three days beforehand. 

Sometimes they w^ere taken in batches of from three to four 
hundred up to a monastery, about an hour from the city. Here 
they were imprisoned, and the Turkish men and women went to 
take away the women and girls who could be persuaded to 
become Turks and five in their harems. This was said to be the 
only way to save their Uves, for they were all assured over and 
over again that, if they were not killed by the gendarmes or the 
wild villagers, they would die from the privations of the journey. 

The missionaries in X. were allowed to bring to their premises 
those people who belonged to their institutions, the families of 
professors and servants, and many girls who had been students 
in the school. It was vacation, and, although a Summer school 
had been open to other boarders who could not get home because 
of the war, most of the city pupils who were in their own homes 
were allowed to enrol themselves as boarders. 

The Government soon said that they must clear the premises. 
Some of the professors were arrested and imprisoned, but, by a 
money arrangement with the Government, their Armenian friends 
were able to secure them their release. It was soon learned that 
the Armenian people in the town were beginning to offer large 
sums of money for their protection and for permission to remain. 
These offers were accepted. The women gave their jewels to the 
wives of the Government officers, and obtained promises that 
they should not be sent away, although in every case they were 
obUged to become Moslems. The missionaries tried in every 
possible way to persuade the Government to allow their people, 
about 350 in all, to remain upon their premises. The American 
Embassy in Constantinople secured permission from the Ministries 
of War and the Interior for these people to be protected. But 
these authorisations were not recognised by the local Govern- 
ment, and, on the 10th August, the professors and servants were 
sent away on ox-carts — about 173 in all. The nurses in the 
hospital and the sickest of the patients, together with the people 
in the Girls' School, were not taken at this time, but they were 

[88] 



STATEMENT BY MISS A A. 



353 



taken on the 12tli August. The professors and servants travelled 
together as far as W., about a week's journey with ox-carts, over 
the mountains. Here the men were bound together, shoulder 
to shoulder, in batches of four and marched away. Their wives 
sorrowfully went on alone. As these women reached the high 
mountain pass of AZ., the Circassians rushed upon them and 
robbed them of coats and bedding, as well as of all the gold they 
could lay their hands on. 

These people and all those who went from X., and indeed 
from the whole Vilayet of Z., travelled east as far as the village 
of V. Here whatever means of conveyance they had travelled 
with was taken away and they were obhged to find some substitute. 
Wagoners placed exorbitant prices on their wagons. Ox-cart 
drivers quadrupled their prices, and many people were unable to 
find any way, except to go on foot. They were then driven 
eastward to Kirk Goz, a small village about six hours from 
Malatia, on the bank of the River Euphrates. 

There again their conveyances were taken away, and they 
could not cross the river without pa;s'ing large sums of money. 
Man}', many died here, and it is said that many were thrown mto 
the river. From this point they went south over the Taurus 
moun^^ns, and word has been received from a few at Siu'udj 
and Aleppo. 

(.4 portion of this document has been omitted here, and printed 
separately as Doc. 96.) 

It is generally understood that, on the 29th August, an order 
went out from Constantinople to all the vilayets stopping further 
deportation of Ai-menians, but yet the deportation has been 
continuing ever since. Only four weeks before I left X., a 
company of yoimg Armenian brides with their httle boys, all of 
whom had become Mohammedans, were sent away. The order 
had come privately, not to the Governor but to the pohce, that 
women who had boys, no matter if they were babies in arms, 
should be deported with their cliikken. Of that category there 
were perhaps three or four hmidi'ed in the city, and about 60 
wagon-loads were chosen out at this time to go. Xo warning 
was given to the people beforehand ; the ox-carts were simply 
diiven to their doors in the morning. They had made no 
preparation, and the women, especially mothers-in-law (who 
have a good deal of influence in this comitry) were very angry. 
They went to the Governor and said : See I We have given 
our pearl necklaces to your wife in order to save our fives ; we 
paid one hundred firas to be saved ; we have become Moham- 
medans. We have sold our souls and have given our money, and 
now you take our fives. We wifi not go." One woman stood up 
on her cart and shouted all the Mohammedan prayers she had 
learned, to prove that she was a Mohammedan. It was a time 



354 



TOWN OF X. 



of general frenzy. But they grabbed the women — bound them 
to the carts in many instances — and took them to the Armenian 
monastery. There they were imprisoned, but after much 
petitioning they finally got permission to send a representative 
from each family to the city to prepare food and get money for 
their journey. They sold their personal effects and in this way 
provided for themselves. This whole batch was killed in the 
mountains, on the other side of the plain from the city. Their 
birth certificates were found, and the burial had been so badly 
done that the bodies of Uttle children were left on the ground, 
and the arms and legs of the corpses in the ditches protruded. 
Stories of this kind can, of course, be duphcated in all parts of 
the countrj^, but I am only telhng the things I can personally 
vouch for. 

Many stories of wonderful bravery are told of the people 
who went away. In Samsoun, one of the most prominent 
Protestants of the place was not allowed to go with the crowd 
that was first sent out. The Governor came to him, and said to 
him : " You are a man, a real man ; we do not want you to be 
lost. Now just say that you will be a Turk, and your hfe and that 
of your family will be saved." The man rephed : But I cannot 
say I beheve a thing of which I am not convinced. I do not believe 
the Mohammedan religion ; you must educate me." So they 
sent their teachers to him, and every few days would send in an 
official and ask him : Now, are you not convinced ? " Thus 
two weeks went by and finally the officials' patience wore out, 
for the man continually said : " No, I cannot see what you see, 
and I cannot accept what I cannot understand." So the ox-carts 
came to the door and took the family away. The wife was a 
dehcate lady, and the two beautiful daughters well educated. 
They were offered homes in harems, but said : " No, we cannot 
deny our Lord. We will go with our father." 

From this city the whole Protestant community went together, 
led bravely by the Pastor. We heard from them near Shar- 
Kishla, but their men had all been taken away and the women 
robbed terribly. 

In a mountain village there was a girl who made herself 
famous. Here, as everywhere else, the men were taken out at 
night and pitifully killed. Then the women and children were 
sent in a crowd, but a large number of young girls and brides 
were kept behind. This girl, who had been a pupil in the school 
at X., was sent before the Governor, the Judge and the Council 
together, and they said to her : " Your father is dead, your 
brothers are dead, and all your other relatives are gone, but we 
have kept you because we do not wish to make you suffer. Now 
just be a good Turkish girl, and you shall be married to a Turkish 
officer and be comfortable and happy." It is said that she looked 
quietly into their faces and replied : " My father is not dead, my 
brothers are not dead ; it is true you have killed them, but they 

[88] 



STATEMENT BY MISS A A. 



355 



live in Heaven. I shall live with them. I can never do this if 
I am unfaithful to my conscience. As for marrying, I have 
been taught that a woman must never marry a man unless she 
loves him. This is a part of our religion. How can I love a man 
who comes from a nation that has so recently killed my friends ? 
I should neither be a good Christian girl nor a good Turkish girl 
if I did so. Do with me what you wish." They sent her away, 
with the few other brave ones, into the hopeless land. Stories of 
this kind can also be duplicated. 

The number of Armenians in Turkey was variously estimated 
at from one and a half millions to two and a half millions. Most 
people who know this country well, think that not over five 
hundred thousand are now left. This, however, may be too small 
an estimate, for there are thousands left in the various cities who 
have become Mohammedans. But this " turning " is recognised 
by both Christians and Mohammedans as a temporary thing. 
There are also many in hiding, especially in Greek villages and 
in the mountain districts. In previous years, after massacres, 
people have sprung up from most unexpected quarters, and I 
expect that this will be the case again. Those who were left, 
however, have been more thoroughly stripped of all worldly 
possessions than has ever been the case before. The best houses 
are immediately occupied by Turkish officials. Furniture has 
been taken to furnish officers' houses and Government buildings. 
The disposal of the rest of the property varies in different places. 

In X., the best furniture is being stored in the Gregorian 
churches, to be disposed of by the Commission appointed by the 
Government. However, almost everything that is valuable is 
gradually disappearing. The more common things are thrown 
into an empty square and auctioned or sold for a song. 

X. is a city of weavers, and all the equipment for the looms 
was in the public square when I came away, and was ruined by 
rain and mud. 

Whatever may be said about the revolutionary intentions 
of the Armenian people, a rebellious nation is not executed by 
its government, but is fought in fair fight, and those of us who 
have loved the Turks and believed that they would, in the end, 
work out a government that could be respected, grieve almost 
more over this great failure of theirs than over the suffering of 
their unfortunate subjects. 



[88] 



356 



JOURNEY FROM X. TO Z. 



89. NARRATIVE OF MISS AA., A FOREIGN TRAVELLER IN ASIATIC 
TURKEY, DESCRIBING A JOURNEY FROM X. TO Z., 10th AUGUST 
TO 6th SEPTEMBER, 1915 ; COMMUNICATED BY THE AMERICAN 
COMMITTEE FOR ARMENIAN AND SYRIAN RELIEF. 

The delay of our party in Constantinople was hard to bear 
there, but the circumstances found on our arrival at X. were so 
distressing as to make the delay heart-breaking. All the Armenian 
college people — professors, teachers, servants and their families, 
with many from the hospital — had gone on the 10th August. 
We arrived on the evening of the 1 1th, and the next morning the 
Government officers had wagons driven on to the premises for 
the girls in the A.G.S. The order was peremptory. Of course 
the Kaimakam was visited, but no change in the order could be 
obtained. The Principal and I finally went and asked that 
Miss A. and I might be allowed to accompany the girls. This was 
refused, but finally a paper was given allowing us to precede or 
follow them by an hour. 

There were at this time 74 Armenians in the school. The 
children in the deaf school wdth two caretakers were allowed to 
remain in their building, and the two old ladies, Miss AG. and 
Miss AH., who had been connected with the school during all its 
fifty years of life, were also allowed to stay. (There had been 
some 135 people in the school for several weeks, but they had 
many of them gone to other cities for safety, or, in the case of 
girls, had gone with their mothers into exile.) 

The company that left the premises consisted of 62 people — 
7 trained nurses, 6 teachers, 3 dressmakers, 15 servants or members 
of their famihes, and 31 students. One of the only two trained 
teachers in the Ottoman Empire for teaching vocal speech to the 
deaf, was there. Perhaps the best trained native nurse in 
Anatolia was there. One of the few good music teachers in the 
country was there. The Armenian nurse who had gone in the 
winter to take care of the soldiers sick with typhus was there. 
The Presidents of the City Y.W.C.A. and of the student Y.W.C.A., 
the advisory officer, and four members of the cabinet were in the 
company. It was indeed too precious a group to be swept into 
the malstrom of wretchedness that makes up the unending 
procession of the exiled " in Anatolia. (It is said that 91,000 
have passed south through Harpout, and that 250,000 is 
the number that must pass south over the mountains from 
Malatia.) 

Just before Miss A. and I left the house, an urgent order 
came to the Principal, summoning him to the outskirts of the 
city. The Kaimakam wished him to be present when the official 
invitation was given to the girls to become Mohammedans. 
The invitation was politely given to each girl individually, and 
no force was used ; but, an hour further on, another officer was 
sent to urge them again and to tell them of the inevitable death 

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357 



that awaited them in a very short time if they did not yield ; 
then the wagon drivers began their work, telling continually of 
the horrors that lay before them. This was only the beginning 
of the pressure brought to bear upon them. The girls say that 
no day passed in which at least three formal representations were 
not made. Men of all types, even the most disgusting, were 
brought to them to urge them to " turn." Whenever the officers 
presented the matter, they were always asked if they did not 
want to take " a new name." This is entirely different from the 
former custom of the Turks when enforcing their religion. 
Formerly all have been asked simply to affirm their belief in one 
God. This " New Name " makes one shudder, when one connects 
it with the Revelation. The party was most splendidly protected 
physically on all their journey, for, in accordance with the 
promises, the greatest care had been taken in choosing the 
gendarmes and their sleeping places ; but in spite of this care on 
the part of the Government, several nights were spent in their 
wagons, so vile were the threats made to them if they should 
descend. However, they reached AW.-han (one day's journey 
beyond AX.) without any change in their number. There they 
were kept two nights and days, and every eflFort was made to 
terrorise them. One girl finally gave up the fight and consented 
to become the wife of an officer from Y. Here, also, the servants 
with their families and the older nurse. Miss K., were separated 
from the others and sent on via V., while the girls and teachers 
were sent on to Z. The girls say that the reason for this was 
the belief that the older ones in the party influenced the younger 
not to " turn." However, the men were finally convinced of the 
uselessness of their efforts when one of the younger and prettiest 
girls spoke up for herself and said : " No one can mix in my 
decisions ; I will not turn, and it is I myself that say it." 

The Principal decided to accompany Miss A. and me to Y. 
This was a great blessing to us. We passed the long line of fourteen 
wagons on the plain, and hastened on to find the Mutessarif Pasha 
if possible that night. This, however, proved impossible, and 
we were obliged to content ourselves with peering out of our 
han window at the fine of wagons slowly winding through the 
streets of the city in the dusk to a camping place outside the town. 
The police of the city immediately called on us, and refused to 
accept our travelling papers, sajdng that they knew no Kaima- 
kam's orders — that they only recognised the police. We were not 
received by the Pasha early, and so were blocked ; but we were 
given permission to go to the girls with food and money. The 
night had been a frightful one, and it seemed as if we could never 
let them go alone, but orders soon drove them out and they 
bravely started off. It was a heart-breaking experience to all of 
us. We hastened back to the city for permission to follow them. 
The Pasha was very stiff, and would not admit that the Govern- 
ment needed any assistance in looking after its children. We 

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JOURNEY FROM X. TO Z. 



soon saw that it was useless to do anything but send a compU- 
mentary telegram to the VaU, asking him to keep our pupils 
under his personal protection. 

We came back to X. and for four days worked to get more 
satisfactory travelling papers, but were finally obhged to start 
off with only a note from the pohce saying that no papers were 
needed for travelling within the bounds of the same vilayet, 
except in the case of suspects. In Y. our papers were again 
refused, but we had written to the Mutessarif the nicest note we 
could get translated into Turkish, asking his help in securing an 
opportunity for us to visit the Vah in Z. Twenty-four hours 
went by, and then we heard that a toAvn meeting had been called 
and a negative decision made to our request. We decided that 
that word must never officially reach us. We started for the 
Pasha's office, but he had gone to his harem. Here we followed 
him. We found his wife a real woman, Avith great sympathy 
for our desire to save our girls from the terrors of deportation, 
and the Pasha in his home was a transformed man. He promised 
to get us to the Vali if possible, and in due tim« this promise was 
made good. The police succeeded in putting enough obstacles 
in our way to keep us in the city another night, and so our people 
were six days ahead of us when we started from Y. The last 
annoyance was a peremptory command to sleep in a certain 
han. This we refused to do because of its inconvenience, and 
so we stayed in a han in the heart of the city, only a short 
distance from the recently burned district. We do not know 
why we were not wanted there, but the sickening odour that 
came into our windows till late into the night, the words which 
dropped from groups of men passing under our windows, and 
the five slowly fading fresh fire-spots on the ruins of the buildings, 
said to have been set on fire by the " turned " Armenians of the 
city, make me morally certain that a ghastly revenge had been 
taken that night. 

Our guard was ready betimes in the morning. Our 
wagoner — a great Turkish thug — was on our side and ready to 
make time. The Pasha's paper assured the greatest courtesy 
at every police station, and with rising hope we started off. But 
hope fades in the face of the great sight of these deported people, 
and we soon felt that in all human reason our request must be 
fruitless. We passed that first day two great processions of the 
exiles, all villagers from the mountains of BU. A few 
were riding in ox-carts, but the great majority were on foot. The 
dust was suffocating, and the poor things all carried great burdens 
— sometimes little children, often cradles with babies in them, 
always sacks of supplies. All we could do was to hold out a little 
money to them. We tried most often to give to the old or to 
young girls. They were often too much frightened or dazed to 
come to our carriage and take it, but our great husky driver would 
shout out : "Do not fear, these will help you." Then they would 

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NARRATIVE OF MISS A A. 



359 



come, but their fear only too plainly told of their experience. I 
must, however, witness to the fact that we did not see any sign 
of anything but patience and even kindness on the part of the 
gendarmes walking with these crowds. The general impression 
gotten everywhere is that orders are carried out, only orders, 
and that even the cruelties are well organised. Very few men 
were in the parties, but there were some. These people had been 
on the road more than three weeks. 

We reached a lonely unfinished han three hours beyond AY. 
Here we found our first company of " turned " Armenians. They 
were from the town of L., and were going they knew not where. 
We met many after this ; they are a little more comfortable than 
the Christians, and their men are with them, but they have been 
robbed like the others, and are full of uncertain fear of what may 
be coming to them, and also of remorse because their denial of 
what is really precious to them has brought them so little. We 
only stopped in AX. to send telegrams and get the story of that 
city. The men here, as everywhere else, had been rounded up 
first and sent off bound in fours, in gangs of from forty to fifty, 
in various directions from the city — to death, as all believe. In 
every city the citizens all believe this to be the fate of all men ; 
all the gendarmes and arabadjis say it is, but all the officers 
deny it, saying that they send the men in this way because they 
have no gendarmes to handle the situation in any other way. 
They take all money and weapons (even razors) from them for 
the same reason. In AX. the women were also imprisoned and 
sent out without any preparation for the journey. The AX. 
people say that the AZ. Pass is the place where all the worst 
things happen, and we can well believe it. At BA. it looked 
ugly, and although it was quiet enough except for the coarse 
voices of the terrible-looking officers that were sitting about, 
you felt that things were wrong. A little bride and a slim young 
girl sidled up to our wagon to talk. In reply to our talk they 
told us that they were " busy taking care of the babies." We 
asked what babies, and they said : "0, those the effendis stop 
here ; the mothers nurse them and then go." We asked if there 
were many, and were told that every house was full. We were 
watched too closely to make calls possible. Afterwards we found 
an officer ready to talk, who said : " We take them off after a^while 
and kill them. What can we do ? The mothers cannot take 
them, and the Government cannot take care of them for ever." 
That night we stopped in another lonely place with a lot of new 
Turks in it. We were glad to help the sick, both among them 
and in the Circassian village near by, though I have no'^doubt 
the Circassians belonged to the bands who rob the exiles so 
frequently on this mountain. In the early morning, as we 
climbed the AZ. Pass, we passed a great camp of exiles. We 
decided that we needed to save the horses, so we walked up the 
steep ascent. We knew that our own girls were not far ahead, and 

[89] C C 



360 



JOURNEY FROM X. TO Z. 



wondered if our professors were here. They were not, but the 
company proved to be from BC, and the pastor and people were 
there. As we \^'alked by, we saw ahead of us the girl teacher 
who has so self-sacrificingly worked there these many years. 
We had prepared packages of money to give away, and as she 
threw her arms about us with a brave quiver of her chin and a 
look of agony never to be forgotten, we hid upon her person a 
bag of money and told her to use it for all. There was no oppor- 
tunity for talk except to learn that the men were still with the 
party. At the top of the mountain, when we changed our guard, 
I went into the kitchen to buy milk and talk. It was evident 
that we had not been allowed to come up the night before, although 
we had pleaded for it. Forty prisoners had been there, and 
they had been taken off to the tents just the other side of the 
mountain in the night and disposed of in some way. We 
wondered if it could have been our own professors and workers. 
We learned later that they (our people) had been separated from 
their wives at W. a few days before, and that the women had 
been robbed on this mountain only forty-eight hours before. 

We reached AW.-han about nine that morning — only the 
second morning from Y. — and went immediately into the town 
for news, though we were apparently only interested in the 
famous rug-industry of the place. While I was discussing this 
interesting industry with a man, a woman told Mss A. to hurry 
to the deserted factory — that our girls were there and in danger. 
My man had already proposed to take us there. W^e found no 
rugs and no girls. The former had been confiscated by the 
Government, and the latter had gone only tw^o hours before 
toward Z., five hours away. A friend turned up in the street, 
who told us that the girls had had a hard time here and that we had 
better go directly to the Kaimakam. This we did. He told us 
a made-up story, but said that the girls would lunch at BD.-han 
and that we could overtake them if we would hurry. We hurried ! 
When we rounded the last turn of the road we saw the most 
beautiful sight I ever expect to see — every window full of dark 
heads and waving handkerchiefs. The Kaimakam had telephoned 
that they might wait for their teachers. He was the man who 
had tried so hard to get a girl, and to whom our small maiden 
had made her confession of faith ! (When you are in the Govern- 
ment it is just as well not to let your left hand know what your 
right doeth.) After a few words Avith the girls, we hastened on 
to the city, reaching there about two hours before the girls. 
Just as we reached the city, we said to the gendarme with us : 
" Why should not these girls stay with us at the American School 
while we wait for the Vali's decision ? " He gave rather a non- 
committal reply, but we were scarcely settled with our friends 
when this man turned up, saying : " There has been a mistake ; 
I got the permission for the girls to come here, but they have 
been taken to a Turkish boarding school." A visit to the Turkish 

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NARRATIVE OF MISS A A. 



361 



school soon straightened this out, though for a while we feared 
our misunderstanding would be a fatal one for our cause. The 
Vali's sister is greatly interested in this school, which has been 
established for Armenian girls left in villages whose adult 
inhabitants had been sent on "sefkyat." The authorities thought 
our girls a new relay, and were a little disgusted that it was not 
so. One of the humorous experiences of the journey occurred 
before the girls were allowed to leave. In the dim light they 
were lined up to meet the commissioner of education, who wished, 
to say a few words to them. They dressed like Turkish girls on 
the journey in white sheets, and were a weird sight in the long 
hall ; but when the commissioner told them that they had no 
need to leave that fine place and go with foreigners, and asked 
them if they would not rather change their names and stay there, 
there came so emphatic a " Khyar, Effendim " from the long line, 
that they were immediately proved to be very hvely ghosts. 
The Vali was away from the city attending to a Kurdish revolu- 
tion in the villages, and this affair gave a very providential 
opportunity for a call on his sister, to apologise for the seeming 
lack of appreciation of her hospitality on the part of our students. 
She was stiff and angry, but we ended the best of friends, I saying 
that I wished she and all the world were Christian, and she 
avowing that she wished me a Mohammedan, and each of us 
declaring that we were going to use our best efforts to bring 
about our desires. 

As soon as the Vah returned, we called, and after a very 
pleasant talk on every subject but the one in hand, we handed 
him our formal petition for the return of the girls. He imme- 
diately granted it, inviting us not to hurry away, but to enjoy 
the hospitality of his city as long as possible. We concluded that it 
was better not to hasten, for we wanted an opportunity to present 
another petition for our professors, and to talk to him about relief 
for the suffering in his country. The second call was not so 
pleasant as the first, for the idea of his country needing any help 
from foreign nations under any circumstances was an absurdity. 
We told him that no country could live to itself in this age of 
reciprocity, and that in time of great trouble, whether caused by 
nature or by war, friendship was shown as much by accepting 
help as by giving it ; that our country could only in these sad 
days offer to help the warring nations, and that it was doing it 
indiscriminately. He warmed a little, but said that at present 
there was no need and that he had not such matters in charge. 

We only left our petition for the return of our other friends, 
and took leave after he had assured us that our journey should 
be facilitated in every way. This was done. He himself was 
on the telephone at the AZ. Pass to hear from our own lips the 
assurance that we were passing that dangerous place in comfort. 
We came in comfort, and this fact only emphasised the suffering 
of those we met always going in the other direction. Our driver 

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362 



JOURNEY FROM X. io Z. 



one day voiced the thought of our hearts : " Who will give the 
Arzu Hal for these 1 " The road all along the way was marked 
by dead and decapng animals, and though we did not personally 
see human bodies, we were told of their presence under bridges 
and in ravines, and frequent groups of vultures gave silent witness. 
There w^ere many feeble and dpng in the processions we met, 
for the weather was very hot. In Y. we called on the Pasha and 
his family and the gendarmerie chief, and were very pohtely 
received and earnestly congratulated. But in the early morning, 
when ^liss A. and I went up town to get some necessary suppHes 
for the journey, six men hung on gallows in the streets and one 
old man was sa^dng : " Why, that is my son ! " So near are joy 
and agony in the world, and especially in this land. They were 
deserters from the Army. 

Our findings, in regard to what we have witnessed, are as 
follows : — 

L The Armenians have been deported practically universally 
from these six vilayets. Many of them have been killed by 
order of the Government and many have died by the way, but 
many also are endming months of travel, and are approaching 
the borders of the great Arabian desert, where help must be 
gotten to them. A large plan of rehef is absolutely necessary. 
It must emanate from the capital and there receive authority. 

II. Orders given from Constantinople are often made void 
by other private orders ; so an}i:hing that is promised must be 
written, and put in the hands of the people authorised to carry 
it out in co-operation with the Government. Only official seals 
will be recognised. 

III. The orders about Protestants are only partially acknow- 
ledged b